Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Johnson County, Indiana"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at http : //books . google . com/| 


History of Johnson County, Indiana 

Elba L. Branigin 


Digitized by V^OOQlC 


Digitized by GoOot^^ '^ " " 

'^ Co. 

Digitized by 


•* ■ ^— . 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 







A. M. 





B. F. BOWEN & CO.. 




Digitized by 





» • • «- 

* • •• • • 

Digitized by 


This work is respectfully dedicated to 


long since departed. May the memory of those who laid down their burdens 
by the wayside ever be fragrant as the breath of summer 
flowers, for their toils and sacrifices have made 
Johnson Cotmty a garden of sun- 
shine and delights. 







^ Digitized by VjOOQIC 


Digitized by 



All life and achievement is evolution; present wisdom comes from past 
experience, and present commercial prosperity has come only from past exer- 
tion and suflfering. The deeds and motives of the men that have gone before 
have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of later communities and 
states. The development of a new country was at once a task and a privi- 
lege. It required great courage, sacrifice and privation. Compare the pres- 
ent conditions of the people of Johnson county, Indiana, with what they 
were one hundred years ago. From a trackless wilderness and virgin land, 
it has come to be a center of prosperity and civilization, with millions of 
wealth, systems of railways, grand educational institutions, splendid indus- 
tries and immense agricultural productions. Can any thinking person be 
insensible to the fascination of the study which discloses the aspirations and 
efforts of the early pioneers who so strongly laid the foundation upon which 
has been reared the magnificent prosperity of later days? To perpetuate the 
story of these people and to trace and record th6 social, political and industrial 
progress of the community from its first inception is the function of the local 
historian. A sincere purpose to preserve facts and personal memoirs that 
are deserving of perpetuation, and which unite the present to the past, is the 
motive for the present publication. A specially valuable and interesting de- 
partment is that one devoted to the sketches of representative citizens of this 
county whose records deserve preservation because of their worth, effort and 
accomplishment. The publishers desire to extend their thanks to the gentle- 
men who have so faithfully labored to this end. Thanks are also due to the 
citizens of Johnson county for the uniform kindness with which they have 
regarded this undertaking and for their many services rendered in the gain- 
ing of necessary information. 

In placing the "History of Johnson County, Indiana,"* before the 
citizens, the publishers can conscientiously claim that they have carried out 
the plan as outlined in the prospectus. Every biographical sketch in the 
work has been submitted to the party interested, for correction, and therefore 
any error of fact, if there be any, is solely due to the person for whom the 
sketch was prepared. Confident that our effort to please will fully meet the 
approbation of the public, we are, 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 




The Mound Builders — Isolation of Johnson County Territory in Elarly Days — 
Indian Occupation — Original Ownership and Cession of Territory — First Gov- 
ei'nment — First Constitution — ^EJarly Ejections — Later Ones — Changes in the 
Statute Law — Political and Moral Reforms — Indiana's Rank Among Her 
Sister States. 

Early Boundary Lines— Early Trails— "Whetzel's Trace'*— The Great Gulf — 
The Indian Trail — County Organization — ^The Tide of Immigration — George 
King — Bill Creating Johnson County — Drainage — G«ology — Climate — Agricul- 


Civil and School Townships — Township Trustee — Poor Relief — Advisory 
Boards — Township Assessors — Road Supervisors — Justices of the Peace — Con- 
stables — Township Boundaries — Township Oflacers. 


First Court House— First Term of Court— The Second Court House — Third 
Court House — Destruction by BMre — Present Building — County Jail — Poor 
Asylum — Orphan Asylum — Fair Grounds — County Fairs — County Seminary — 
Soldiers' Home Cottage. 


Constitutional Provisions — Public Accounting Law — County Commissioners — 
County Council — Auditor— Treasurer — Clerk of Court — Sheriff — Recorder — 
Coroner — Surveyor — Assessor — Superintendent of Schools — Other Officers. 


Judges of Circuit Court— Early Criminal Cases— Judge William W. Wick- 
Personal Mention of Later Judges — Associate Justices — Probate Judges — Com- 
mon Pleas Court — Johnson County Lawyers — Present Roster of the Bar — 
Prosecuting Attorneys. 


An Early Description of Franklin — Condition of the Roads — Blue River Town- 
ship — Nineveh Township — Franklin Township — White River Township — Pleas- 
ant Township — Hensley Township — Union Township — Clark Township. 


First Log Cabins — Neighborly Spirit Among the Pioneers — Difficulties and 
Hardships — Wild Animals — Hunting — First Orchards — Labor in the Home — 
Early Farming Implements — Pioneer Diversions. 

Digitized by 




Provisions of Ordinance of 1787 — Local Provisions — School Law of 1831 — 
Public Sentiment in Relation to Free Schools — Sketches of Elarly Schools — 
First Schools in Indiana and in Johnson County — Elarly Customs — Qualifica- 
tions of Pioneer Teachers — ^Early Text Books — "Barring Out" the Teacher — 
Libraries — ^Franklin Public Library — ^Academies and Seminaries — Hopewell 
Academy — Township High Schools — Franklin Township High School — Teach- 
ers and Graduates — Hensley Township Graded School — Union Township High 
School — Clark Township Graded High School — White River Township Graded 
School — Franklin Schools — Colored School — School Officers — ^Franklin Col- 
lege — A Long and Creditable History — College Organizations — College Officers 
. and President — Professors — Indiana Baptist Manual Labor Institute. 


First Religious Services — First Sunday School — Early Planting of Churches- 
Franklin Presbyterian Church — Greenwood Presbyterian Church — Address of 
Rev. P. S. Cleland— Hopewell Presbyterian Church— Bethany, Shlloh, Bdin- 
burg and New Pisgah Churches — Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church — 
First Baptist Church of Franklin — Baptist Churches at Greenwood, Amity, 
Trafalgar, Franklin Township, Mt. Pleasant, Hurricane, Beech Grove, Lick 
Springs, Whiteland — Primitive Baptists at Bethel, Bethlehem, Union Town- 
ship — Christian Churches at Franklin, Edinburg, Williamsburg, Greenwood, 
Trafalgar, Nineveh Township, Clarksburg, Mt. Carmel, Samaria, Union 
Village, Bluff Creek, Bargersville. Union Township, White River Township, Mt. 
Pleasant, Young's Creek — Franklin Methodist Episcopal Church — Edinburg, 
Williamsburg, Glade, Greenwood, Whiteland, Fairview, Mt. Auburn, Trafalgar, 
Wesley Chapel, Friendship, Salem, Rock Lane and African Churches — Jollity 
Methodist Protestant Church, and the Societies at Mt. Zion and Pleasant 
Hill — United Brethren Churches — The Catholic Church — Christian Scientists. 


Free and Accepted Masons — Knights of Pythias — Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows — Modern Woodmen of America — Improved Order of Red Men. 


Indiana Farmers Bank, the First in the County — ^Franklin National Bank — 
Citizens National Bank — Union Trust Compay — Farmers Trust Company — 
A. C. Thompson & Co., Edinburg — First National Bank, Greenwood — Citizens 
National Bank — ^Whiteland National Bank — Farmers National Bank, Trafal- 
gar — Farmers State Bank, Bargersville — Mutual Building and Loan Associa- 
tion — ^Franklin Building and Loan Association. 


First Attempt — Franklin Examiner, the Pioneer Newspaper— ^-Patriotic Litera- 
ture — ^War-time Incidents — Subsequent Newspapers. 


An Honorable Record — Diaries and Letters of Samuel W. Van Nuys, of Com- 
pany F, Seventh Indiana Regiment — Account of His Death — A Vivid Recital 
of Incidents and Events at "the Front." 

Digitized by 




Origin of First Settlers Here — ^Health Conditions — Epidemic and Prevalent 
Diseases — Medical Treatment Among the Pioneers — Superstition — EJarly Phy- 
sicians — Their Difficulties, Treatment and Remuneration — Personal Mention. 


Early Traveling Inconveniences — Tolls — First Bridges — Stage Coach Route — 
Plank Roads — Gravel Roads — The First Railroad — Later Roads — The Inter- 
urban Line — Telegraph and Telephone Lines — ^Assessed Mileage. 


County Seat Location — George King's First Visit to Franklin — ^First Settlers 
at BYanklin — ^Enumerations — Incorporation — Public Improvements — ^EJdlnburg 
— ^E^arly Merchants — ^Incorporation — Officers — Schools — Greenwood — ^Incorpora- 
tion and Officers — Public Utilities — Schools — Whiteland — Trafalgar^-Other 


Officers of City of Franklin — Population Statistics — ^Johnson County Business 
Directory — City and Town Plats — Official Vote Democratic Primary Elections, 
1900 to 1912. 


Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Academies and Seminaries 249 

Accounting Law 86 

Admission as a State 27 

Advisory Board 58 

Agriculture 54 

Amity Baptist Church 344 

Amity Business Directory 544 

Amity Plats 549 

Appendix 534 

Assessed Mileage 523 

Assessors 59 

Associate Judges 144 

Auditor 93 


Ballot Laws 29 

Banks and Banking 393 

Banta, Judge David D. 139 

Baptist Churches 340 

Bargersville Business Directory 543 

Bargersville Plats 549 

Beech Grove Baptist Church 347 

Beecli Grove Christian Church 365 

Bench and Bar 125 

Bethany Presbyterian Church 337 

Bethel Prim. Baptist Church 349 

Bethel U. B. Church 378 

Bethlehem Prim. Baptist Church.... 350 

Blue River Township 168 

Bluff Creek Christian Church 364 

Board of Charities 122 

Boundaries of State 27 

Boundaries of Townships 60 

Bridges, Early 517 

Business Directory 538 

Candle-making 201 

Catholic Church 379 

Charities, Board of 122 

Christian Churches 351 

Christian Science Church 380 

Church History 304 

Circuit Judges 125 

Circuit Riding Lawyers 130 

Cities and Towns : 524 

Citizens National Bank, Franklin 396 

Citizens National Bank, Greenwood . . 402 

City and Town Plats 544 

Civil Townships 65 

Clark Township 195 

Clark Township High School 265 

Clarksburg Christian Church 362 

Clarksburg Plat 549 

Clerk of Circuit Court 99 

Climate 53 

College Organizations 298 

Colored Schools 275 

Commissioners 87 

Common Pleas Court 145 

Condition of Roads 165 

Constables 60 

Constitutional Convention 27 

Coroner 112 

Counties, Original 28 

County Assessor ' 117 

County Attorney 123 

County Auditor 93 

County Buildings 65 

County Commissioners 87 

County Council /. . . . 91 

County Officers ./ 85 

County Organization / 43 

County Physician 122 

County Recorder 110 

County Seat Location 524 

County Seminary 83 

County Superintendent 119 

County Surveyor 113 

County Treasurer 95 

Court House Destroyed 69 

Digitized by 



Court Houses 65 

Court Reporter 122 

Crops 54 


Democratic Primary Vote.. ..... 551 

Destruction of Court House 69 

Domestic Animals 54 

Drainage 49 


Earliest Baptist Church 307 

E^rly Bridges 517 

Early Doctors 507 

Early Psxm Implements 212 

Early Lawyers 135 

EJarly Life and Customs 199 

Early Railroads 520 

Edlnburg Baptist Church, Colored. . 348 

Edinburg Business Directory. 540 

Edinburg Catholic Church 379 

Edinburg Christian Church 367 

Edinburg, Growth of 529 

Edinburg M. E. Church 367 

Edinburg, Officers of 530 

Edinburg Plats 546 

E3dinburg Presbyterian Church 338 

Edinburg, Public Utilities 530 

Eklinburg Schools 531 

Educational Interests 215 

Edwards Plat , 550 

Election Laws 29 

Elections, Presidential 28 

Electric Lines 521 

Epidemics, Early 487 


Fair Grounds 76 

Fairs 76 

Fairview M. E. Church 371 

Far West Plat 550 

Farmers National Bank, Trafalgar. . 404 

Farmers State Bank, Bargersville. . . 406 

Farmers Trust Company 398 

Finch, Judge Fabius M 136 

First Churches 304 

First Court House 65 

First National Bank, Greenwood... 401 

First Newspaper 411 

First Schools in Indiana 226 

First Sunday School 304 

First Territorial Governor 27 

Flax 207 

Flemingsburg Plats 550 

Foreword 25 

Franklin A. M. B. Church 376 

Franklin Baptist Church 340 

Franklin Baptist Church, Colored 348 

Franklin Building & Loan Assn 408 

Franklin Business Directory 538 

Franklin Christian Church 351 

Franklin, City Assessor 535 

Franklin, City Attorneys 535 

Franklin, City Clerks 534 

Franklin, City Marshals 534 

^Frivnklin, City Officers 534 

Franklin, City Treasurers 534 

Franklin College 279 

Franklin, Councilmen 535 

Franklin, Early Incidents 162 

Franklin, Enumeration . . . .* 526 

Franklin, First Lot Sale 525 

Franklin, Firs^ Settlers 526 

Franklin. Incorporation 526 

Franklin, Mayors 534 

Franklin M. K. Church 366 

Franklin National Bank 394 

Franklin Plats 544 

Franklin Presbyterian Church 308 

Franklin, Public Improvement 527 

Franklin Public Library 248 

Franklin School Officers 275 

Franklin Schools 266 

Franklin Township 175 

Franklin Township High School 255 

Fraternal Orders 381 

Free and Accepted Masons 381 

Friendship M. E. Church 374 


Geological Features 52 

Glade M. E. Church 369 

Gravel Roads 519 

Great Gulf 37 

Greek-letter Fraternities 300 

Greenwood Baptist Church 343 

Greenwood Business Directory 541 

Digitized by 



Greenwood Christian Church 359 

Greenwood, Incorporation 531 

Greenwood M. EL Church 369 

Greenwood, Officers 531 

Greenwood Plats 547 

Greenwood Presbyterian Church 311 

Greenwood, Public Improvements. . . 531 

Greenwood Schools 532 


Hagersville Church 364 

Hardin, Franklin 37 

Hensley Township 188 

Hensley Township Graded School... 261 

Hicks, GUderoy 149 

Highways 517 

Honey Creek U. B. Church 378 

Hopewell Academy 250 

Hopewell High School 256 

Hopewell Presbyterian Church 336 

Hunter, Anderson B. 152 

Huricane Baptist Churches 346 


Implements, Early Farm 212 

Improved Order of Red Men 392 

Independent Order of Odd Fellows. . 388 

Indian Occupation ; 26 

Indian Trail 40 

Indiana Boundaries 27 

Indiana Farmers Bank 393 

Indiana's Rank 33 

Interurban Lines 521 


Jail 70 

Johnson County and the War 420 

Johnson County Fairs 76 

Johnson County Seminary 249 

Johnson County Statistics 537 

Jollity M. E. Church 375 

Journalism 411 

Judges, Associate 144 

Judges of Circuit Court..' 125 

Judges of Probate Court 145 

Jury Commissioners 122 

Justice of Peace 59 


Kentucky Indian Trail 40 

King, George 43, 524 

Knights of Pythias 386 


Lancaster Plat 550 

Lawyers, Roster of Present 160 

Libraries 246 

Lick Springs Baptist Church 348 

Lodges 381 

Log Houses, Building of 199 

Log School House 220 

Loper's Cabin 38 


Masonic Order 381 

Mauxferry Road 28 

Medical History 486 

Methodist E^plscopal Churches 366 

Military Record 420 

Modem Woodmen of America 391 

Mound Builders 25 

Mt. Auburn M. B. Church 371 

Mt Carmel Christian Church 362 

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Churches 845 

Mt. Pleasant Christian Church 365 

Mt. ZlQu Baptist Church 345 

Mt. Zion M. B. Church 376 

Mutual Building & Loan Assn 407 


Natural Features 49 

Needham Business Directory 543 

Needham Plat 550 

New Bargersville Plats 549 

Newburg Plats 549 

New Hope Christian Church 365 

New Pisgah Presbyterian Church. . . 339 

Newspapers 411 

Nineveh Business Directory 543 

Nineveh Township 172 


Odd Fellows 388 

Officers, County 85 

Digitized by 



Ofllcers of Township 55 

Olive Branch U. B. Church 379 

Ordinance of 1787 26 

Organization of County 43 

Original Counties 28 

Orphan Asylum 75 

Overstreet. Gabriel M 151 

Overstreet, Jesse 159 

Oyler, Samuel P 138 


Physicians 486 

Plank Roads 518 

Plats, City and Town 544 

Plattsburg Plat 550 

Pleasant Hill M. E. Church 377 

Pleasant Township 185 

Poor Asylum 72 

Population Statistics 537 

Poultry *. 54 

Presbyterian Churches 308 

Presidential Elections 28 

Press, The 411 

Primary Vote, Democratic 551 

Probate Judges 145 

Prosecuting Attorneys 161 

Public Utilities Law 31 


Railroads 520 

Recorder 110 

Religious History 304 

Road Improvements 519 

Road Supervisors 59 

Roads, Condition of 165 

Rocklane Business Directory 544 

Rocklane M. E. Church 374 


Salem M. EL Church 374 

Samaria Christian Church 363 

Samaria Plats 549 

School Enumeration 272 

School History 215 

School Law of 1831 217 

School Townships 55 

Seminary, County 83 

ShertfT 106 

Shiloh Cumb. Prea. Church 340 

Shiloh Presbyterian Church 337 

Slater, John 150 

Soldiers' Home Cottage 84 

South Stott's Creek Churches. ..350, 351 

Stage Coach Route 617 

State Boundaries 27 

StaUsUcs 537 

Streams 49 

Superintendent, County 119 

Supervisors 59 


Teachers, Early 134 

Telegraph Lines 522 

Temperance Movements 32 

Temperature 53 

Territorial Government 26 

Thompson & Co. Bank 400 

Toll Roads 519 

Town Plats 544 

Township Assessors 59 

Township Boundaries 60 

Township High Schools 253 

Township History 55 

Township Organization 55 

Trafalgar 532 

Trafalgar Business Directory 542 

Trafalgar Christian Church 360 

Trafalgar M. E. Church 372 

Trafalgar Plats 548 

Transportation 517 

Truant Ofllcer 123 

Trustee. Township 56 


Union Christian Church 361 

Union Township 191 

Union Township High School 263 

Union Trust Company 397 

Union Village Church 363 

Union Village Plats 549 

United Brethren Churches 378 

Unusual Laws 30 

Urmeyvllle Plat 550 

Digitized by 




Van Nuys, Samuel W 420 

Virginia's Claim 26 

Vote, Democratic Primaries 551 


Wesley Chapel M. R Church 373 

West Whiteland Business Directory. 542 

Whetzel, Jacob 34 

Whetzel's Trace 34 

White River Township 178 

White River Township Graded School 265 

Whiteland 632 

Whiteland Baptist Church 349 

Whiteland Business Directory 542 

Whiteland M. E. Church 370 

Whiteland National Bank 403 

Whiteland Plats 648 

Wick, Judge W. W 125 

Wild Animals 204 

Williamsburg Christian Church 359 

Williamsburg M. B. Church 368 

Williamsburg Plats 649 

Woollen, Judge Thomas W 1^47 

Young's Creek Christian Church 366 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 



Adcock, William 616 

AlkenB, W. W 700 

Alexander, Robert A •. . 559 


Barlow, Heman 776 

Beatty, J. J 73b 

Bohall, Everett R. 639 

Boone, Charles J 857 

Bowden, Isaac W 772 

Branigin, Elba L 568 

Brewer, Daniel A 703 

Brewer, Edgar D 813 

Brewer, Edward G 724 

Brewer, Samuel E. 760 

Bridges, Harry 582 

Bridges, William A., Sr 642 

Brown, I. Newt 716 

Brunnemer, Albert T 730 

Brunnemer, William J 732 

Byers, Arch W 765 

Byers, Henry S., Sr. 767 


Calvin, John W. ...'. 632 

Cames, Mrs. Eliza Polk 670r 

Cames, Zachariah 671 

Chenoweth, E^phraim B 740 

Clary, J. J 781 

Cobb. BSdward E. 640 

Cook, Camilus B ..678 

Covert, Albert N 802 

Covert, James G 644 

Covert, William D 664 

Craven, Thomas W 660 

Crawford, J. P 621 

Crecraft, Albert N 61% 

Curry, Scott 744 

Cutsinger, Martin 728 


Deer, F. L. 861 

Deitch, Samuel 686 

Deupree, William E .- 661 

Devore, Chester T 806 

Dickson, John B 763 

Dickson, Mlno 763 

Dltmars, Cornelius L. 792 

Dltmars, Garrett 820 

Dltmars. John T 720 

Dltmars, John W 712 

Dltmars. Richard V 666 

Dltmars, William S 806 

Donnell, Rebecca Dltmars 720 

Dorrell, Daniel D 723 

Dorrell, Jacob G 759 

Dorrell, Thomas 742 

Drybread, Ivory J 664 

Dunn,. Oren C 647 

Durham, C. M 752 

E2arnest, Elmore T 770 


F^themgUl, William 608 

Fendley, James A 696 

Fisher, William M 786 

Fllnn, William 808 

Foxworthy, John 726 

Fulmer, John 757 


Gllmore, James T 682 

Graham, John N 674 

Griffith, James L 764 

Digitized by 




Hall, Columbus H 589 

Hanley, Elijah A 600 

Harrell, WUllam H 714 

Heck, George W 762 

Held, Christian 783 

Henderson. Gilbert 800 

Hicks, Alvin G 808 

Hill, Edward 812 

Hughes, George 704 


Jennings, William B 688 

Johnson, Grafton 570 

Johnson, J. Albert 602 

Johnson, Joseph 685 


KeUy, J. H. 652 

Kerlin, George W 721 


LaGrange, Peter D 815 

Ust, Albert 816 

Lochry, Henry R 850 


McCartney, WUliam D. 668 

McCaslin, John A 780 

McCaslin, WlUiam B. 775 

McClain, John C 683 

McClain, Squire H 692 

McClanahan, William H 658 

McClellan, Samuel J 751 

McQuinn, Thomas W 778 


Mathes, Miss Ellen S 618 

Mathes, William J 616 

Miller, Fremont 650 

Miller, Robert M 701 

Mitchell, Samuel M 790 

Moormann, George A 610 

Mozingo, Milford 680 

Mullendore, Frank R. 656 

Mullendore, Lewis 634 

Mullendore, William 633 


Neible, W. L 747 

Noble, Thomas B 859 

Norton, T. Edward 706 


Oliver, John 745 

Oliver, William Q 605 

Overstreet, John T 773 

Owen, A. W 645 

Owens, Fred R. 638 

Owens, George, Sr 789 

Owens, Walter 717 

Owens, William 798 


Payne, Philander W 580 

Polk, James T 69:^ 

Powell, Chauncey J 661 

Pritchard, Henry R. 648 

Province, Clarence 636 

Province, Oran A 626 

Province, William M 795 


Ransdell, George W 630 

Records, John N 618 

Runkle, J. W 738 

Russell, William A 768 


Service, Robert A. 784 

Sharp, O. B 622 

Sheek. D. W 708 

Sheetz, William J 852 

Shephard, Harry B 818 

Short, Luther 564 

Short, Milton 565 

Sibert, William F. 693 

Simon, EJd 853 

Simon, George W 849 

Slack, Elisha 577 

Slack, L. Ert 576 

Springer, W. O 567 

Stott, William T 596 

Digitized by 



Tarlton, John EL 674 

Terhune, RuTus W 824 

Thompson, A. C 585 

Thompson, J. A 584 

Threlkeld. WiUiam P 718 

Tracy, Mathew J 749 

Tucker, Wellboume S -. 635 

Tyner, Richard H 614 


Vandivier, Elmer 787 

Vandivier, Ira EI 809 

Vandivier, OUs M 821 

Vandivier, Ozais B 695 

Van Dyke, John H 595 

Van Nuys, Watson M. 796 

Vau^t, Barney M 794 

Voris, M. J 733 

Voris, W. R. 607 


Webb, David R 676 

Webb, Jesse C 586 

Weddle, John C 710 

Whitaker, James W 766 

White, George 1 810 

White, Henry B 623 

White, W. H 628 

White, WUliam W 736 

Wild, George W 672 

Williams, H. G 855 

Wilson, Daulton 624 

Winterberg, Francis 663 

Wood, Henry C 670 

Wooley, John H 698 

Wyrick, Ephraim W 690 

Wyrick, Geprge W 690 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 





With the history of the Mound Builders in prehistoric times, Johnson 
county history has little, if any, connection. Judge Banta, the leading au- 
thority in our annals, suggests that two mounds are to be found on Sugar 
creek, two miles above its mouth, and two low mounds in White River town- 
ship may be evidence of their work in this connection. The ones first re- 
ferred to lie just south of the Runkle graveyard. No excavations have ever 
been made, and it is only a surmise that they are the handiwork of the Mound 

Nor can it be said that the history of the early French missionaries, 
La Salle and his Jesuit brethren, is interwoven with the story of our county. 
Their track lay far to the north and west. The first white inhabitant settling 
on the Wabash and Maumee rivers had no intercourse with the soutji, even 
after Daniel Boone opened up Kentucky to settlement. Their communication 
was by way of Detroit and the St. Lawrence. 

The struggle between the English and the French for the control of the 
Mississippi, and the later contest between the United States and England, cul- 
minating in the brilliant campaign of George Rogers Clark around Vincennes 
and Kaskaskia, was fought on soil far to the west and south of us. Far re- 
moved from the principal waterways of the state, the comparatively level 
strip of land lying between the west fork of White river and Sugar creek was 
untrodden by the foot of white men when Indiana was admitted to the 
Union of states in 1816. 

Covered with a heavy growth of oak, poplar, ash, maple, sycamore, 
beech, walnut, elm and hickory, with spice brush and grape vines and under- 
growth forming an almost impenetrable tangle, this wilderness was unknown 
even to the Indians except for occasional straggling bands of hunters or war 

Digitized by 



parties bound from the villages on the upper Wabash to the Kentucky river 

Evidences of Indian occupation of the county are rare. From the testi- 
mony of the first white settlers, and more from arrowheads and relics found 
near the deer licks, we come to the conclusion that hunting parties of the 
Miamis came to the Bluffs of White river, to the headwaters of Young's creek 
and to the site later chosen for the county seat. As will be seen in another 
connection, Judge Franklin Hardin was of the opinion that there was once a 
large Indian village on the west side of White river in the extreme northeast 
section of the county, and John Tipton, in his "J^^^'^'" ^^ his first trip to 
locate a new state capital in 1820, repeats a tradition to the effect that French 
missionaries were stationed at that village many years before that time, — 
even so, Indian occupation played no part worthy of extended notice in the 
history of our county. 

In 1818 the United States by treaty with the Delawares came into the 
possession of the White river country, and within three years all had been 
removed to their new homes beyond the Mississippi. Within the next three 
or four years bands of hunters from the tribes came into the country at 
sugar-making time and in the fall hunting season. The first white settlers, 
who had pushed northward into the newly ceded lands, came in contact with 
a few of these hunting parties, but no friction arose, and long before the 
thirties even the Indian hunters withdrew, never to return. 

Two small streams in the county, both bearing the name of Indian 
creek, one in Hensley township, the other emptying into Young's creek sixty 
rods north of the Hopewell road and now prosaically called the Canary ditch, 
are the only geographical names on the map of our county recalling Indian 
habitation. This, in itself, is significant proof that the Indian was only a 
sojourner for brief visits to our hunting grounds. 

Virginia claimed all of the Northwest territory as a part of her original 
domain under the charter granted to the London Company in 1600. Her 
claim was strengthened by the conquest of Vincennes in 1779, by Gen. George 
Rogers Qark, one of her soldiers. After the Revolution, Virginia ceded all 
of her lands north of the Ohio to the United States, and three years later 
the great charter of the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wis- 
consin, the Ordinance of I787, was passed by the Congress of the United 
States. It provided for a governor, to be chosen by Congress for a term of 
three years, for a secretary and a common law court of three judges. 

Major-Gen. Arthur St. Clair was appointed by Congress to be the first 

Digitized by 



governor of the Northwest territory, and the seat of governipent was fixed 
at Marietta, Ohio, where the first court met in 1788. Two years later the 
court first met at Vincennes and in 1798 the first elections were held to select 
five members of a law-making council. The first General Assembly con- 
vened at Cincinnati in September, 1799. Meanwhile settlers were coming 
rapidly into the new country from Virginia, the Carolinas and the central 
Eastern states, generally by way of the Ohio river, and Congress was soon 
impelled to divide the great territory. On May 7, 1800, the President ap- 
proved the act of Congress dividing the territory, Ohio being set off apart and 
the remainder designated as Indiana territory. 

Indiana territory, still under the law of the great charter, had as its 
first governor William Henry Harrison, appointed May 13, 1800. The seat 
of government was fixed at Vincennes, and here the first general court met on 
March 3, 1801. Until 1805, when the first Legislative Council was con- 
vened, the territory was under a code of laws "published" by the general 
court. For a year ( 1804- 1805) Indiana territory not only included its former 
area, but was enlarged by the addition of all of the Louisiana territory north 
of latitude thirty-three. 

In 1805 the territory of Michigan was detached, and on the ist day of 
May, 1809, the territory of Illinois was organized, leaving Indiana with its 
boimdaries on its present lines. In 1^81 1 the capital of Indiana territory was 
changed to Corydon, in Harrison county, and there, in 1813, the Legislature 
convened, with Thomas Posey as governor. Governor Posey was the second 
and last of the territorial governors, serving until the admission of Indiana 
into the Union as a state. 

On the 19th day of April, 1 816, an enabling act was passed by the Con- 
gress of the United States directing an election to be held in Indiana terri- 
tory to select delegates to a constitutional (Convention. Pursuant to that act 
delegates were elected on May 13th following, and the convention met at 
Corydon on June loth. Forty-two delegates, with Jonathan Jennings as 
president and William Hendricks as secretary, drafted the first Constitution in 
less than three weeks, holding most of their sessions under the "Constitution- 
al Elm," a tree still standing in the old state house grounds. 

The Constitution thus drafted met with the approval of Congress, and 
on December 11, 1816, Indiana became a sovereign state. As there had been 
thirteen original colonies in the formation of the Union, so, as it happened, 
there were thirteen counties in the new state. Knox, Posey, Gibson, Warrick, 
Perry, Washington, Harrison, Qark, Jefferson, Switzerland, Dearborn, 

Digitized by 



Franklin and Wayne were the ''thirteen original counties," nearly all bor- 
dering on the Ohio and lower Wabash. Of these counties the most populous, 
and hence entitled to the largest representation in the constitutional con- 
vention, were Knox, with a population of 8,068 centered about the old settle- 
ments at Vincennes; Clark, with a poptdation of 7,150, Franklin, with a popu- 
lation of 7,370, and Harrison, with a population of 6,975, all centering about 
the great Falls of the Ohio. Here the adventurous homeseekers were com- 
pelled to abandon their flat boats and by the route of the Indian trails make 
their way to the north. 

About the year 1807 Frederick Mouck, of Virginia, had come to a cabin 
on the Ohio, where Mouckport now stands, and established a ferry. This 
easy crossing of the river drew settlers by way of Corydon and Salem toward 
the White river country. One of our oldest highways, the Mauxferry road, 
variously spelled "Mauksferry" and "Mocksferry," was the avenue of travel 
for many of the early settlers from Kentucky. And by this and other roads 
leading from the river northward, immigrants pushed their way into the 
wilderness, and while Johnson county was organized by a legislature sitting 
at Corydon, within a year thereafter a new state capital was selected, and 
Indianapolis was agreed upon as the site, although the seat of government 
was not removed until 1825. 

When Johnson county came into b^ing Jonathan Jennings, the first gov- 
ernor of the state, was still in office, and the entire state had a population of 
147,178. James Monroe was President of the United States, receiving five 
electoral votes from this state for his second term. James Noble and Waller 
Taylor were still serving as United States senators, and when Governor 
Jennings resigned to accept congressional honors, he was the first candidate 
to receive the suffrages of Johnson county for member of Congress in the 
election of 1824. 

Partisan politics played little part in the election of local officers in John- 
son county until the later thirties. But in the national elections, beginning 
with Jackson's first term, party lines were closely drawn, and the majority of 
the early settlers of the county coming from the South, the county was then, 
as it has always remained, a supporter of the Democratic party. 

In the first presidential elections, record of which is yet preserved, 
Jackson received 221 votes, Adams 118, not counting Blue River township, 
the returns for which are lost. In 1832 Jackson electors received 261 votes, 
Qay 120, the returns from Franklin township being lost. In 1836 Van 
Buren received 559 votes, Harrison 438, Union township not recorded. In 

Digitized by 



1840 the same candidates received 998 and 631 votes, respectively, all town- 
ships reported. In 1844 Polk electors received 992 votes, Clay 581, while 
the Free Soil party had 15 votes (Nineveh township not included). Zachary 
Taylor received 675, the Democratic candidate 1,114, and the Free Soilers 12, 
in the election of 1848. In 1852 Pierce received 1,333, Scott 896, Hale 20. 
In 1856 Buchanan got 1,608, Fremont (first Republican candidate) 1,095, 
while the Free Soil vote increased to 153. 

When the great issue that divided the North and South was submitted 
to the voters of Johnson county, Douglas received 1,392 votes, Lincoln 1,303, 
Breckenridge 336 and Bell 60. Four years later McClellan received 1,713 
votes, Lincoln 1,532. In 1872 the Greeley electors received 2,109, Grant 
1,700. In 1876 Tilden received 2,363 votes, Hayes 1,860, Cooper 304. In 
1880 Hancock received 2,461 votes, Garfield 2,020, Weaver 287. In 1884 
Qeveland received 2,515, Blaine 2,020, Butler 179, St. John 17. In 1888 
the Democrats polled 2,594 votes. Republicans 2,168, Prohibitionists 66, Un- 
ion Labor 162. 

Since 1892 the vote for the head of the ticket at national elections has 
been as follows: 

1892 1896 1900 1904 1908 1912 

Democrat 2,606 3,083 3,088 2,882 3,219 2,890 

Republican 2,082 2,288 2,345 2,574 2,519 924 

Prohibition 157 29 157 300 37 211 

Peoples 243 21 24 2 

In the last election Roosevelt, Progressive, received 1,408 votes, and 
Debs, Socialist, 49. Independent local tickets have not met with great favor. 
In 1890 a "Citizens" county ticket was placed before the people and received 
1,963 votes. The Grangers and the Populists were never formidable, the 
latter party going over to the support of Bryan in 1896. 

The Australian ballot law of 1889 ^^'^^ a much-needed reform. Thereto- 
fore, the voter prepared his ballot outside the polls and the "floater" was led 
to the voting window and the sale of his vote made certain. Since 1890 the 
voting is done in secret and with all proper restrictions thrown around the 
preparation of the ballots and the casting and counting of the same, there has 
never been occasion to repeat the cry of fraud made in 1864 and in 1870. 

At the November election of 1908 voting machines were used for the 
first time. An Empire machine was used in the city of Franklin that year 
and proved so successful that, two years later, fourteen machines were pur- 
chased for use throughout the county at an expense of ten thousand five 

Digitized by 



hundred dollars. They are found to be accurate and one election board can 
handle three times as many votes as when the ballots were stamped with a 
stencil or marked with a pencil. A regular election, using the voting ma- 
chines, costs the county a little less than one thousand five hundred dollars, 
about five hundred dollars less than under the old method of voting. 

Many other changes in the fundamental and statute law of the state 
have followed the changes in the political, social and moral conditions of our 
society. Among these changes are, first, a tendency toward uniformity of 
laws. Under the first Constitution, special laws conferring special privileges 
or making special requirements in certain counties filled the pages of the 
acts of the Legislature. Under such laws the county felt as free as the indi- 
.vidual to follow its own devices. In 1850 the state Legislature found it nec- 
essary to reprimand our county by enacting "that the board of commissioners 
of Johnson county shall not be at liberty to dispense with a road tax on real 
and personal property, but the same shall be annually levied under the pro- 
visions of the act to which this is an amendment." 

Some of these special laws were so unusual as to provoke ridicule. For 
example, the Legislature of 1850 passed the following bill : 

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, that all 
laws or parts of laws now in force requiring a person first to obtain a license 
to vend ardent spirits in less quantity than a quart at a time and make the 
same punishable by indictment or fine, in case the same is sold without a 
license, be and the same are hereby repealed ; provided, however that nothing 
in this act shall be so construed as to eflfect any indictment now pending in 
the Hancock circuit court, except the indictment pending in said court against 
William A. Franklin, an unfortunate man who was -shot so as to render 
him unable to support himself by labor, and as to such indictments as are now 
against him this act and the benefits thereof shall be extended." (Acts 1850, 
page 218.) 

All the liquor tax laws of a great state repealed to help one poor "boot- 
legger" out of trouble! 

The new Constitution of 1851 required all laws to be general and of 
uniform application throughout the state. The supreme court has construed 
this clause to mean that it is only necessary that laws shall operate in all parts 
of the state in a similar manner "under the same circumstances and condi- 
tions," a construction which may be used to defeat the plain intention of the 
Constitution. Fortunately, however, in recent years, the General Assembly 
have rightly interpreted this salutary provision, and a sincere effort has been 
made to pass laws which are general and uniform. This has led to the 

Digitized by 



codification of our municipal laws, the highway laws and of the criminal 
code in 1905; the uniform school text-book law of 1889; and to the fee and 
salary laws of 1895. 

In the second place the state, in response to public opinion, has passed 
many laws to improve the conditions of the laboring classes. Regulations are 
now in force as to the employment of women and children in factories; to 
the safeguarding of the operatives in mines and manufactories; to the con- 
struction of tenement houses ; and a commission is now at work under the act 
of 191 3 investigating the subject of workingmen's compensation for personal 

The Public Utilities law of 191 3 marks a new era in this state, giving 
to the state the right of fixing service charges for all public utilities. What 
the railroad commission of Indiana, created under the act of 1905, was 
authorized to do in the regulation of rates and prescribing conditions of 
service to the public, by the railroads, the public service commission is au- 
thorized by the act of 191 3 to do and prescribe as to all corporations furnish- 
ing puWic utilities. Every railroad, street railroad, interurban railroad, every 
plant for the conveyance of telegraph and telephone messages or for the pro- 
duction, transmission, delivery or furnishing of heat, light, water or power 
service, or for the furnishing of elevator or warehouse service to the public 
is under the supervision and control of this commission. In general, the work 
of the commission is to secure to the people of the state adequate service and 
facilities at reasonable rates and under fair regulations. 

Again, in the path of political reform, the state has in recent years taken 
advanced steps. Under the Corrupt Practices act of 191 1 candidates for pub- 
lic office are required to publish a sworn statement of all moneys con- 
tributed or expended to aid and promote their nomination or election, and are 
prohibited from expenditure of money to such end except through a treasurer 
or political agent of a political organization. Political organizations may not 
expend money except for "certain legitimate expenses" defined by statute. 
Corporations are prohibited from making contributions to any party or can- 

The act of March 4, 191 1, providing for the registration of voters at all 
general elections, is another salutary measure intended to purify the ballot. 
This legislation is not new to the state, for as early as 1867 the General As- 
sembly passed an act providing for the registry of voters, and under that 
statute a board of registry in each township, consisting of one Democrat, one 
Republican and the township trustee, was appointed at the June term, 1867, 
of the board of commissioners* court in this county. 

Digitized by 



Many other measures have been placed on the statute books in recent 
years to secure honest weights and measures, and providing for state inspec- 
tion of foods and drugs. All packing houses, canneries, dairies, hotels, res- 
taurants, groceries and all other stores and factories, where articles of food 
are manufactured, stored or exposed for sale, are subject to a rigid inspection 
by state authorities. 

The temperance sentiment of the state began to show a rising tide again 
about the year 1890. In November, 1834, on the petition of a majority of the 
freeholders resident in the town of Edinburg, it was "ordered that there be no 
more grocery licenses granted to residents of said town/' As early as 1848 
Johnson county had voted on the question of license or no license to the 
retail saloon. In that year Franklin, Pleasant and Blue River voted "dry," 
other townships voted "wet.'* In 1852 Franklin, Nineveh, Blue River and 
Pleasant voted against license, Union voting for license. In the next year 
Franklin, Blue River, Clark and Pleasant voted "dry," while Nineveh, Hens- 
ley, Union and White River voted "wet." 

In the year 1895 the General Assembly passed the Nicholson law, by 
means of which a majority of the legal voters of any township or city ward, 
by signing a remonstrance, could prevent the issuance of a license to sell 
liquors. At the December term, 1895, the voters of the first ward of the city 
of Franklin successfully resisted the application of William Anstis. At the 
December term, 1896, of the commissioners' court, remonstrahces were suc- 
cessfully made in all three wards of the city of Franklin, but their sufficiency 
was overruled at the March term, 1897, and licenses were granted. 

The fight was successfully renewed against saloons in the first ward of 
the city in February, 1902. At the August term, 1903, remonstrances in the 
city of Franklin were overruled, but on appeal and a change of venue to 
Bartholomew county the remonstrances were upheld. Again, at the June 
term, 1904, remonstrances in the first ward were sustained. 

Under the County Ix>cal Option law of 1908 an election was held in 
Johnson county on April 25, 1910, the vote being: No license, 3,477; for li- 
cense, 1,344. Under the Township Local Option law of 1911 but one election 
has been held in the county. In Blue River township an election was held 
on March 26. 191 2, which resulted in a victory for the "wets" on the face of 
the returns. The "drys" instituted contest proceedings before the board 
of commissioners and it being found that in the tenth precinct more votes 
were counted from the ballot box than there were voters registered on the 
poll books, the vote of the entire precinct was rejected, and the board found 
that there were legally cast ''against license" 152 votes, "for license" 118 

Digitized by 



votes. After a spirited fight on appeal, after change of venue, Judge Remster, 
of Indianapolis, upheld the finding of the board of commissioners and pro- 
hibited the sale of liquors in that township for two years succeeding the date 
of the election. 

The city of Franklin remains "dry*' as the result of successful remon- 
strances under the Moore law, an amendment to the Nicholson law, filed with 
the county auditor on February 5, 1912. The county has not a saloon within 
its borders, and, 'what is of equal importance, the officers of the law have suc- 
cessfully fought the maintenance of "blind tigers'' and "dry beer joints." 
Public sentiment in the county has sustained the action of our representatives 
in helping place temperance laws upon the books, and has been active in the 
aid of the officers of the law charged with the duty of their enforcement. 

The most hopeful feature of recent legislation is that the state no longer 
relies upon punishment of a broken law as the best means of effecting political, 
social and moral reforms, but has followed a constructive policy which lends 
encouragement and uplift to the most enlightened and progressive citizenship. 

Indiana ranks only thirty-fifth, territorially, but has advanced to the ninth 
place in population. According to the census of 1910, the state ranks fifth in 
the production of corn, only Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska outranking 
her ; in the production of wheat, Indiana stands fourth, being led by Minne- 
sota, Kansas and South Dakota; in the production of oats, our state ranks 
fifth, with Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio leading. When it is remembered 
that Illinois and Iowa are fifty per cent, larger in area, Missouri almost twice 
as large, and Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota are each more than twice the 
size of our state, the record of the Indiana farmer is a proud one. 

Indiana now has 7,420 miles of railroads, ranking thirteenth in this 
respect. There are nearly a half million telephones in Indiana, and more than 
6o,ocx) miles of telegraph lines. Its electric railway lines, radiating in every 
direction, make Indianapolis the greatest interurban railroad center in the 
world. The term "Hoosier" is no longer a reproach. It is a far cry from the 
days when Jacob Hozier and his brother, Abram Hozier,* brought their wolf 
scalps from the borders of "The Great Gulf" to claim the bounty due them at 
the county seat. 

To attempt to show what part Johnson county and her citizens have 
played in this onward march and to help to trace the road by which they have 
come is the excuse for this county history. 

*Note. — Jacob P. Dunn has suggested that the nickname *'Hoosier" may have been 
derived from the family name "Hosier** or "Hozier.'* 


Digitized by 




When Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816, the white settlers 
occupied only a small section of the southern part of the state. The boundary 
line separating their territory from the Indian lands ran from a point on the 
Wabash river nearly due west of Rockville in Parke county, in a south- 
easterly direction to a point on White river about half way between Seymour 
and Brownstown, then northeast to the southeast corner of Decatur county, 
then east of north to P'ort Recovery, in Mercer county, Ohio. If another 
line be drawn from the place of beginning to Fort Recovery, the triangle thus 
formed would embrace the tract of land then claimed by the Delaware tribe. 

On the 3rd day of October, 181 8, a treaty was concluded with the Dela- 
wares at the St. Mary's Falls in Ohio, by Jonathan Jennings, then governor 
of Indiana, General Cass and Benjamin Parke, acting under appointment of 
President Monroe, and the Delaware lands were ceded to the United States. 
The new territory acquired the name of the **New Purchase,*' a name fre- 
quently used in the early records to identify land descriptions. The Indians 
were granted the right to occupy their lands for three years, but in 1820 large 
numbers of them left for the Arkansas country and in the following year all 
were removed. The New Purchase became the mecca of home-seekers from 
the East and South, and the Indians had scarcely signed the convention until 
the white settler invaded his domain. 

Into that part of the New Purchase later formed into Johnson county, 
three trails or traces became the highways of travel into our county. The 
first one marked and traveled by white men was that known as "Whetzel's 
Trace,'' laid out by Jacob Whetzel in 181 8. It crossed Sugar creek near 
'The Red Mill" about one mile north of Boggstown, and ran west almost 
upon the present line of the Worthsville road to the bluffs at White river. 
The story of its making, told by Judge Banta in his "Historical Sketch of 
Johnson County*' (1881), is worth preserving in this form. 

"Some time during the latter part of 181 7, Jacob Whetzel, then living 
in Franklin county, in this state, bought a tract of land in Harrison's Pur- 
chase, near the mouth of Eel river in Greene county. The usually traveled 

Digitized by 



route from the White Water country, where Whetzel lived, to the Purchase, 
was by way of the Ohio and Wabash rivers, or from the Falls at Louisville, 
overland to that place. Jacob Whetzel was a born and trained woodsman. 
He had been hunting wild beasts and fighting Indians all his life. He had 
served as a spy and scout with the armies of St. Clair and Harrison, and, 
now that a pathless woods lay between him and his purchase, he determined 
to cut through rather than go around. 

"The Delaware Indians were at that time in the undisturbed possession 
of the White River country, and Jacob Whetzel, early in the summer of 1818, 
applied to the Delaware chief, Anderson, at his village on White river, where 
Andersontown (Anderson) has since been located, and obtained his permission 
to cut a road through from neaf Brookville to the Bluffs of White river. In 
the month of July, in company with his son Cyrus, a youth eighteen years 
of age, and four good, stout axmen, Thomas Howe, Thomas Rush, Richard 
Rush and Walter Banks, he set out for the nearest point on White river, in- 
tending to work from thence back to the settlements. Taking one of the men, 
Thomas Rush, with him, he went in advance, blazing the proposed road, 
while young Cyrus, with the rest of the men, followed after, carrying their 
axes and nine days* provisions. These had not entered the wilderness very 
far, when, one evening late, they met a party of Indians, whose actions, not- 
withstanding their protestations of friendship, excited suspicion. The two 
parties passed each other, but the white men, without arms, kept a more 
vigilant watch that night than was common even in that day. The night set 
in cloudy, and rain soon began falling, but the hours passed quietly on, until 
the camp-fire burned low, when the man on watch discovered Indians lurk- 
ing in the vicinity. Quietly waking his sleeping companions, they as quietly 
abandoned their camp, and, notwithstanding the darkness of the night, fol- 
lowed the trace of Jacob Whetzel and his associates by feeling of the notches 
and blazes cut in the trees. Whatever motive led the red-men to prowl around 
their camp-fire at night, nothing more was seen of them on that journey. 

"Meeting with no other hindrances save such as were incident to the 
trackless wilderness, Cyrus Whetzel and his comrades journeyed on, cross- 
ing Flat Rock about seven miles below the present site of Rushville; Blue 
river, four miles above Shelby ville, and Sugar creek, a little north of Boggs- 
town. On reaching a water course, a few miles east of White river, a nest 
of honey bees was discovered in the hollow limb of a walnut tree, which 
yielded a large supply of honey; but being too bitter to be eaten, because made 
from a bitter, honey-bearing bloom, it was reluctantly thrown away ; never- 

Digitized by 



theless, from this circumstance originated the name of *'Honey creek/* the 
first creek within the borders of this county to receive a name at the hands 
of white men. 

**White river was struck at a place Jacob Whetzel called the Bluffs, and 
we may well imagine that the scene which met the gaze of these pioneers was 
such as they little expected to behold. Jacob Whetzel had set out to reach by 
a short cut a prospective home at the mouth of the Eel ; but standing on the 
Bluffs, in those July days, he looked out over a wide, deep and rapidly flow- 
ing river, through whose clear depths 'the eye could penetrate to the white 
pebbles that lay on the bottom far below, whose waters swarmed with fish, 
and whose level bottoms and rolling uplands were covered with great forests 
that grew from a soil of wonderful richness, and there, on the banks of the 
Waw-pe-kom-i-ca of the Miami red men, he resolved should be his future 

"Jacob Whetzel went on down the river alone, while young Cyrus and 
the axmen turned back and began the work of cutting out what was long 
known as Whetzel's Trace. Their progress was slow. A path had to be 
cut of a width sufficient to admit the passage of a team. After passing the 
rolling lands extending a few miles back from the river, the country through 
which they went was level, and at that season of the year was almost an end- 
less swamp. Their first day's work took them to an old beaver dam near the 
present east boundary line of Pleasant township. It was built across the 
outlet of a swamp, and made a pond of water a half-mile long and several 
yards in width at the narrowest places; but at that time it had apparently 
been long deserted. 

"Presently, they reached the Hurricane, and there they established their 
camp, and as this stream afforded the only running water between Sugar creek 
and Honey creek, it was surmised that here would be a noted camping ground 
in the future, and the stream they named Camp creek; and subsequent events 
proved the surmise to have been well-founded. Slowly hewing their way 
through the woods, the axmen came at length to a deep swamp, some two 
miles west of the present east boundary line of the county, which was known 
in the early day as the Great Gulf. This was a mile in width and two miles 
in length. Two streams, Flat creek and Leatherwood, entered the Gulf at 
the north end, and their combined waters made Little Sugar creek. Sugar 
creek was already named when the Whetzels came. It was noted for the 
large forests of sugar trees that grew at intervals on its banks, and to this 
circumstance it is supposed that its name is due. The entire distance to 

Digitized by 



Sugar creek, after passing the skirt of rolling lands lying back from the river, 
is said to have been a continuous swamp. The axmen were often mid-sides 
in water while cutting their way, and at night they cut brush and made heaps 
on which to sleep. 

**Arriving at the Brandywine late one evening, the party encamped, when 
Jacob Whetzel rejoined them. After their scanty meal had been eaten, Jacob 
produced a bottle of peach brandy which he had obtained in Owen county, and 
over this the party pledged the memory of the wives and sweethearts at home. 
To the inspiration due to that bottle are the people of Shelby county indebted 
for the name of one of the prettiest streams, Brandywine. The name was 
given on that night. The provisions giving out, the party was soon after 
compelled to push on to the settlement, and leave the work unfinished ; but in 
a short time, Whetzel returned and finished it. ' 

*'This work proved of great importance in the settlement of Marion, 
Johnson, Morgan and Shelby counties. It was known as. Whetzel's Trace, 
and hundreds of the early settlers of central Indiana traveled along it in 
search of their wilderness homes.'' 

Over this trace, Franklin Hardin, when a lad of fifteen, came with his 
mother in the last week of October, 1825. They stopped at Lewis Morgan's 
home in the northwest part of Shelby county. Morgan's house was the last 
chance for a lodging on the Trace until they should reach Nathaniel Bell's 
hcrnie, at the crossing of the Whetzel and the Berry trails, twenty miles to the 

Of this trip. Judge Hardin writes: "The next morning was Sunday, 
and having bidden good-bye to our kind friend (Morgan), under his direc- 
tion we were sent around the north end of the Great Gulf, as it was usually 
called, thus leaving Whetzel's Trace at Morgan's, and going up Sugar creek, 
first on one side and then crossing at Huflf's Mill, and traveling up the west 
bank till our northing amounted to two or three miles, thence westward, near 
where Madison Morgan long after resided, and crossing Flat creek and 
Leatherwood, at the north end of the gulf, and thence south along the west 
side of the gulf to a point directly west of Lewis Morgan's to the Whetzel 
Trace, at a point called at the time Loper's Cabin, but long before known 
and named Camp Creek by the Whetzels. When Whetzel marked out his 
trace in the summer of 1818, the weather being exceedingly dry, the waters 
of the Great Gulf had disappeared, and he ran straight across it from Mor- 
gan's to Camp Creek.* The Great Gulf is as yet (1880) an unsolved prob- 

♦NoTE — This croasinf: must have been at McOonnell's Ford. — Author. 

Digitized by 



lem. It is a depression of two or three miles west of Sugar Creek, being 
three or four miles in length, and having the same direction and about the 
same capacity as the present valley of Sugar Creek. Whether that stream 
once occupied that basin, but was forced by driftwood and the agency of 
beavers to cut another channel, might yet be determined by a careful exam- 
ination. Two small creeks entered at the north end, but soon lost their 
channels and then mingled their waters and covered the basin generally 
throughout the year. It sustained a growth of heavy timber of such kinds as 
would grow in it. It was, during long years after I saw it first, the home of 
bears, wolves, catamounts, panthers and other wild animals. A volume 
could be written of the exploits of two brothers named Hosier, who settled 
near its north border, and who by traps, guns and dogs, made sad havoc of 
wolf cubs, catamounts and other game. A more dismal place I never saw, 
and as we rode around it for six miles or more — an old woman and a boy — I 
trembled with fear. Added to the gloom of the dismal place, away to the 
north was an Indian encampment, making the most of their privilege to 
hunt here. They seemed to be making a drive of their game to the south- 
ward, the direction we were traveling to Loper's Cabin on Camp creek. The 
constant crack of the rifle, the crash of the brushwood caused by the troops 
of the flying, frightened deer as they rushed thundering on with branching 
horns and tails erect, widespread, grandly leaping high above the shrubbery, 
with heads and eyes averted as if to see the distant foe, and the widely scat- 
tered flock of wild turkeys, as they sped on with long, outstretched necks, 
half on foot, half on wing, far as the eye could reach, was altogether a 
sight, one never to be forgotten by an old lady and a boy unused to such wild 

'*In our approach to Loper\s Cabin, at the camping grounds on Camp 
creek, the wolf paths leading to the encampment along the side of the road 
were as continuous and well l)eaten in the soft soil as hog paths about a 
farm, and great plantigrade foot-prints over the muddy grounds showed that 
bruin often quitted his secret hiding place in the gulf and roamed abroad. 
Camp creek afforded good water, and from the time the Whetzels first erect- 
ed their camp here until the trace ceased to be used as a highway, here was 
the emigrants' hotel. In the morning as they moved on, the wolves entered 
to devour the dead animals and the garbage left in the encampment. Daniel 
Loper was a wild man. I could never learn whence he came, nor yet where 
he went when he left Johnson county. The first we knew of him was in 
October of 1820. Then he had erected a hut at the crossing of the Whetzel 

Digitized by 



and Berry traces, on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of sec- 
tion 7, township 13 north, range 4 east, lately owned by the Bracketts. He 
kept a sort of entertainment there, — that is, a man felt that he was not quite 
out of doors when he stayed in his cabin. 

^'Nathaniel Bell came from Ohio in 1821 along the Whetzel trace, 
destined for the Eel river country, in search of some eligible situation for 
himself and family. He rode on horseback with a sack undei- him, in which 
he carried his provisions. His horse carried a bell around his neck, which 
was kept silent by day, but when night came. Bell made a camp, unloosed the 
bell, hobbled the horse, turned him out to graze, and then lay down to sleep. 
Bell, having explored the Eel river lands, and not liking them, returned and. 
called at the cabin of John Doty, who had located a camp on the school 
section, near the center of the present White River township, on the 8th of 
May, 1 82 1. Here Bell disclosed his purpose, and that was to get a descrip- 
tion of the land at the crossing of the traces, and enter them at Brookville 
on his way home, and then settle there, and keep a tavern, and build a 
horse-mill and a distillery for whisky. 

"Applying to Peter Doty, son of John Doty, for aid in getting a 
description of the land, Peter agreed to furnish it for one dollar, but Bell 
declared he had no money beyond the sum necessary to enter the land. 
Finally, Peter agreed to accept the bell on the horse, and the desired infor- 
mation was thus obtained. Bell forthwith ordered Daniel Loper to leave 
his cabin, as the land was now his. Thus, under a threat of expulsion and a 
claim of ownership falsely made, Loper was driven out, and retired to 
Whetzel's old camp (at Hurricane creek, near Robert Fitzpatrick's lands) 
and there erected another hut, and occupied it for one or two years. Here 
Loper continued to reside for a time, and give such aid and lodging as he 
could to emigrants. 

"Loper, when he first came to the county, had a man living with him by 
the name of John Varner. Varner made several trips to White Water with 
an old wagon and a yoke of oxen belonging to Loper, and in exchange for 
the fruits of the chase received and brought back provisions and occasionally 
a few gallons of bad whisky. Whether from the unhealthiness of Camp 
creek, on the borders of the gulf, or some other cause, John Varner took 
sick and suddenly died. By some means, Loper got -word to John Doty to 
come and assist in his burial. John Doty and his son Peter responded at 
once, taking with them a shovel for digging the grave. When they arrived, 
Loper, despairing of assistance, had gone to work with a garden hoe, the 

Digitized by 



only implement for digging he had, throwing out the earth with his hands. 
The grave was soon ready. But there was no coffin, nothing except a large 
trough. Into this they put his body, and covered the trough with a rude 
slab, split from a log, and thus was John Varner buried at Camp creek, * * * 

"Bidding adieu to Camp creek, with its strange associations and inci- 
dents, we continued on the Whetzel trail westward, meeting five or six men, 
who were off for a bear hunt on the borders of the gulf. We were alarmed 
at the sight of these men as they approached, thinking they were Indians, 
They were exceedingly rough, large men, with uncouth apparel, dressed in 
buckskin pants, bearskin caps, each with a large fire-lock on his shoulder, 
while six or eight great, ugly wolf dogs were in company. These men were 
a party of RelFs. then a power in the land. They treated us kindly, and 
directed us in our travels. Seven miles from Camp creek, in the midst of a 
dismal forest of trees, briars and brush-wood, there broke suddenly on our 
view Bell's horse mill and its surroundings. It was a quiet Sabbath evening, 
but the mill was in full clatter, with its unequalled hundrum produced by its 
loose machinery. Twenty or thirty men stood around in clusters in friendly 
chat, and forty to fifty horses in working trim were hitched in every direc- 
tion. The mill was far behind in its grinding, and was running night and 
day without halting for Sunday. The men were waiting for their several 
turns to grind, for the mill ground in order of their arrival, and if a man 
was absent when his turn came, the next succeeded to his rights. At this 
point we left Whetzel's Trace in a northerly direction, and in a couple of hours 
found ourselves at the end of our journey, in the midst of our near friends.'' 

It is worthy of note that the Great Gulf has come to be in our day one 
of the finest bodies of land in the two counties, and the way from McCon- 
nell's Ford to the Hurricane road leads through farm lands of endless 


This trail, sometimes known as the ancient river trail, followed the line 
of a prehistoric glacial river southward through Johnson county, toward the 
Falls of the Ohio, at Louisville. It crossed Driftwood at the "upper falls," 
ran northwesterly thence to Sugar creek, finding a ford at the place later 
called Collier's L'ord, and then probably with the line of the Mauxferry road, 
two-thirds of the way to Franklin, when it swerved more to the left, passing 
the farm now owned by Milo Canary, then with the ridge to the Big Springs 
at Hopewell, then nearly north with the line of present highway running 

Digitized by 



through the center of the west half of that row of sections, to the Marion 
county Hne, and onward to the Indian village on the Wabash near the pres- 
ent site of Lafayette. Below Driftwood the trail divided, one leading to the 
Kentucky river trail, the other to the Falls at Louisville. 

The Kentucky River Indian trail led by way of Vernon to Madison. 
Along this trail must have come John Vawter, whose route the writer has 
attempted to follow on the maps of today with indifferent success. To give 
the reader a like opportunity, Vawter's letter to the Madison Republican of 
February 2y, 1819, is herewith reprinted: 

"Vernon, Feb'y. 16, 18 19. 

"Gentlemen: — Capt. Campbeel and myself have just returned from an 
excursion into the Delaware lands, and should you consider the following 
sketch worth an insertion in your paper for the amusement of your readers, 
and the information of. emigrants and persons wishing to explore these 
lands, it will gratify some of your readers. 

"We traveled the new cut road from this place to Geneva (on Sandy) 
a new town laid out on the old Indiana boundary line, about eight miles from 
this place in a N. W. direction. We then took a new cut road (opened to 
Flat Rock sufficient for waggons), which bears nearly N. 45 W. The first 
stream we crossed after leaving Person's Mill on Sandy, is called Little 
Sandy; the second Leatherw^ood ; the third, Fallen Timber Creek (all ap- 
propriate names). We next passed a remarkable beaver dam, in which the 
ingenuity of these animals is wonderfully exhibited. The 4th stream is 
Flat Creek, the 5th Deer Creek, the 6th Crooked Creek; all of which streams 
will answer for light machinery, and run to the S. W., the bottoms gen- 
erally gravelly and water very clear. We next came to a stream by the 
name of Clifty, sufficient for any kind of water works, and about ten miles 
distant in the new purchase. I think, without exaggeration, that every 
quarter section that may be laid out in this ten miles, will be fit for cultiva- 
tion and will be settled. The lands are of a black, sandy quality, timbered 
with beech and black ash principally. The general face of the country is 
rather inclined to a plain, with hollows rather wet. The lands on Clifty are 
very rich and well timbered on both sides of the stream with blue ash, 
walnut, sugar tree, honey locust, beech, etc. 

"After crossing this stream we came to a most beautiful walnut ridge 
about one and one-half miles north of Qifty. We next crossed Middle 
Creek, then Grassy Creek, then Tough Creek, Stillwater and Pleasant Run, 
all of which are small mill streams running to the S. W., some of which 

Digitized by 



have very muddy bottoms, and lie between Clifty and Flat Rock at the dis- 
tance of seven miles. In this seven miles, the lands are principally very 
rich and level, the valleys rather wet, and timbered principally with oak, 
black ash, walnut, sugar tree, poplar, hickory, etc., until we came to the 
lands immediately upon Flat Rock. These lands exhibit a scenery I never 
expected to see in Indiana. They resemble the rich lands on the two Elk- 
horns in Kentucky, for richness and timber, and to appearance, abound on 
both sides of the stream, which has a gravel bottom and is about 80 yards 

**On the north side of this creek we found only one stream until we 
arrived at Driftwood, about eight miles in a S. W. (N. W.) direction from 
where we crossed Flat Rock. The lands between these two streams are 
level and very dry, timbered with white oak, black oak, walnut, honey locust, 
underbrush, dog wood and hazel. We found beautifully rich and level 
lands on both sides of Driftwood, and well timbered. The river (by count- 
ing the horses' steps) was 180 yards wide where we crossed it. I think 
' there are very few springs in this country, but believe water may be had 
with very little labor. To sum up my views on the subject, I am of the 
opinion that if Jefferson county would make a good highway in the direc- 
tion to this place, that Madison would be the key on the Ohio River to one 
of the best tracts of country I have seen in this state: and a delay will 
speedily bring forward some other point as the country is now settling. We 
met two families and teams on the road to this Eden. 

"Yours with esteem, 

"John Vawter." 

In the same year of Vawter's trip, one Richard Berry established a 
ferry at the crossing of the Kentucky River Trail and Driftwood, and 
blazed the trail north and south of his home, and hence that part of the old 
Indian trail running through Johnson county became known as Berry's 
Trace. As noticed elsewhere, the Madison and Indianapolis state road laid 
out near the line of the Kentucky River Trail, and the road leading to the 
Falls of the Ohio near the route of the Ancient River Trail, furnished the 
principal routes of commerce and immigration in the first days of the 
county. Joining the latter road near Seymour was another highway lead- 
ing by way of Brownstown, Vallonia, Salem and Corydon (then capital of 
the state) to Mouck's Port on the Ohio river. 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 





H L 

Digitized by 




Upon the old stone marking the grave of Eleanor King in the old 
Franklin cemetery, near the confluence of Hurricane and Youngs creeks, is 
this inscription : "Eleanor, wife of George King, First Proprietor of Frank- 
lin, died April 8, 1831, aged 50 years." George King was not only **First 
Proprietor of Franklin," but to his efforts Johnson county owes its organi- 

At the time of the adoption of the Constitution of 181 6, out of the 
territory south of the old Indian boundary line, only the following counties 
had been organized: Wayne, Franklin, Dearborn, Switzerland, Clark, Jef- 
ferson, Harrison, Washington, Knox, Gibson, Warrick, Posey and Perry. 
Of these, the most populous and hence entitled to the largest representation 
in the convention were Harrison, where the state capital was located; 
Clark, near the Falls of the Ohio; and Knox, embracing the old settlements 
about Vincennes. 

One can trace the tide of immigration into the New Purchase in the 
organization of new coui^esv^^: At^^f^rstr'tlie ^m^ was slow. Pike, Jen- 

nings, Monroe, Orange a|idt $ulUym c-on^ing nn the same year the new state 
was formed. In the next year, Davies, Dubois and Scott were organized. 
With the signing of the treaty at..S.t. Mafy'^, another inrush of settlers 
came, and in 181 8 Crawf^cd^r.L^w^^WGe^* Martin, Morgan, Owen, Randolph, 
Ripley, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Vigo /counties came into being. Then 
came a three-year period of inaction, Floyd county, which was cut oflf from 
the territory of Jeflferson and Harrison, being the only new county formed. 

With the opening of the land office at Brookville, the tide again flowed 
strongly to the north and in 182 1 Bartholomew, Decatur, Green, Henry, 
Marion, Parke, Putnam, Rush, Shelby and Union were organized. 

Such was the situation when George King came to this section in the 
autumn of 1822. He had been here twice before. With a party of his Ken- 
tucky neighbors, including Simon Covert, Samuel Demaree, Cornelius De- 
maree, Peter A. Banta, William Porter, James Shannon, Wallace Shannon 
and Prettyman Burton, all residents of Henry and Shelby counties, Ken- 
tucky, he came by way of Madison, thence eastward to Versailles, turning 
then to the left by way of the forks of Flat Rock, w^here he and his com- 
panions took up the Kentucky River Trail. Passing through Johnson coun- 
ty by way of Berry's Trace, they continued the journey northward as far as 
the home of William Conner, on White river, some sixteen miles beyond the 

Digitized by 



present capital. At this place Conner had established a trading post with the 
Indians as early as 1806, and had made himself a comfortable home with no 
white neighbors nearer than sixty miles. It was at Conner's home that the 
commissioners appointed by Governor Jennings met on May 22, 1820, to 
select the site of a new state capital. 

King and his companions then turned backward, passing Indianapolis, 
then without a name and with only four small cabins to mark the place of 
the present metropolis, and came to the Bluflfs of White river. There they 
took Whetzers Trace out to Loper's Cabin on the Berry Trail, whence they 
traveled southward by the Big Springs and Berry's Ford, on the old Ken- 
tucky River trail homeward. 

In the next year King and his brother-in-law, Simon Covert, with 
William Shannon, a neighbor, again passed through the county on the way 
to the new capital site to attend the first sale of lots in the new town. They 
then continued on toward the Wabash country, returning to Kentucky 
through the western route. 

The rest of the story of the county organization we \\\\l tell in the 
words of Judge Banta, who had it from the lips of the principal actor in 
those stirring scenes : 

''In the fall of 1822 George King, Garrett C. Bergen and Simon Covert 
came from Kentucky to look at the lands in this part of the New Purchase. 
The capital of the state had l)een laid out that summer, and thin streams of 
immigration w^ere pouring into the New Purchase from the east and the 
south. Not all of the counties of central Indiana were then organized, as at 
present, but wSuch unorganized territory, including that of Johnson, was at- 
tached to Delaware county. These land hunters had an eye to the partition 
of the New Purchase into counties in the near future, and when they reached 
the Blue River settlement King inquired of Samuel Herriott for an eligible 
site for the location of a town, and was cited to the tract lying between 
Young's creek and Camp creek. The place was visited, and it was found 
to be covered by a fine growth of beech, sugar tree, ash, walnut and poplar 
timber, while a tangled thicket of enormous spice brush grew up beneath. 
Along Young's creek, a great hurricane had passed some years before, as was 
plainly to be seen from the great swaths of timber cast along its bottoms. 
The storm had evidently come from the west, and at the mouth of Camp 
creek it had changed its course and, following the course of this stream, had 
plowed a great, wide furrow, extending for miles in the dense groves of 
timber which grew along its bottoms. Just above the mouth of Camp creek, 

Digitized by 



on the north side of Young's creek, was a tract of boggy ground, and at the 
upper margin a sulphur spring burst forth. Here was a deer Hck, and the 
numerous paths worn through the dense brush, converging from every quar- 
ter of the compass, not only testified to the place being a favorite resort of 
the deer, but to their great abundance. The men were pleased with the 
prospect, and. King, selecting the eighty-acre tract on which the town of 
Franklin was afterward located, Covert took the eighty lying to the east, 
and Bergen that on the north. But, when they reached the land office, it 
w^as ascertained that Daniel Pritchard, on the 25th of September before, had 
entered Kings tract; King entered the tract lying to the west of it, while 
the others purchased as they had originally intended. King sought out 
Pritchard at once and bought his eighty acres by paying him two hundred dol- 
lars as an advance of the original cost. The Legislature was expected to meet 
soon, and, for some reason not well understood now% quite a stir was among 
the people in some localities as to the probable action to be taken with refer- 
ence to new counties. Those of the White River neighborhood entertained 
a lofty idea of the Bluffs as a future shipping port. The commissioners for 
the location of the capital building visited the spot, and, it is said, that a 
minority favored the place. But the capital had gone elsewhere, and the 
White River people now set about the organization of a county with such 
territorial boundaries as would enable the BlufTs to compete for a county 
seat location. With county lines so firmly established as they are today, and 
central Indiana so handsomely platted into counties as it is, it is difficult to 
appreciate the claims that must have been put forth; but let it be borne in 
mind that central Indiana was at that time a great wilderness, with here and 
there a little settlement, and that the Bluffs was one of the noted places in 
the land. 

"There were those in the Blue River settlement aspiring in behalf of 
their new town of Edinburg; but, while the White River people organized 
and employed a lawyer to attend the Legislature and look after their inter- 
est, those of Blue River seem to have taken no active part in the matteV. 

"George King took upon himself the burden of seeing that the territory 
lying between Shelby and Morgan counties was duly organized, and to that 
end a petition was duly prepared, and was circulated by John Smiley. Ac- 
cording to contemporaneous memory, Smiley seems to have brought to his 
aid a zeal that insured a numerously signed paper. All the men and all the 
boys in the Sugar Creek settlement, on both sides the Shelby line, and the 
larger majority of those living in Blue River, signed that petition, in person 

Digitized by 



or by proxy, and Col. James Gregory, a senator from Shelby county, as the 
friend of the new enterprise, claimed that it contained the names of all who 
had died and of some who had never lived in the country. That petition 
was never submitted to a legislative committee; but Mr. Smiley went into 
Washington county, where he had formerly lived, and there he procured 
signers to a petition which was used. 

*'Armed with his petitions. King, on his way home to Kentucky, turned 
aside and stopped at Corydon, where the Legislature was in session, and 
the battle was soon on. Harvey Gregg, a shrewd lawyer and an active poli- 
tician, winning in manner and popular in his address, who had lately moved 
to the new capital from Kentucky, was there as the representative of the 
White River interest. King feared Gregg and his winning ways, and, had 
it not been for geographical position, the lawyer would most likely have 
carried off the prize, and the Bluffs have been a county town. 

**A Mr, Johnson, from some point still lower down White river, also 
appeared on the scene, and, as the sequel will show, lacked little of securing 
the prize to himself, in spite of all others. His plan, as also the plan of 
Gregg, is not now remembered, and, but for the testimony of some who 
took part in these scenes, it would be difficult to believe that any legislator 
could seriously have thought of disturbing the harmony of counties already 

"King and Gregory, finding their interests identical, pulled together. 
The Sugar Creek and Blue River petition was destroyed, on the advice of 
the latter, but a bill was prepared, and the Washington county petition kept 
in the field. 

"In the House of Representatives the King bill was passed at once; 
but in the Senate trouble began. King was acquainted with but two mem- 
bers in that body, one of whom was Marston G. Clarke, the member from 
Washington, and a nephew of the celebrated George Rogers Clarke. He was 
a stern, dignified man, "barely able," says Oliver H. Smith, "to read a 
chapter in the Bible, and wrote his name as large as John Hancock's in the 
Declaration of Independence." His sense of justice was acute, his mental 
force great, and his influence in the Senate almost unbounded. A man of 
his character and temperament, King thought it not safe to attempt to in- 
fluence in behalf of his bill, lest he should be suspected of mercenary mo- 
tives and a prejudice spring up in the mind of the legislator against him and 
his measure. 

"For two weeks Gregg and King were making their best endeavors to 

Digitized by 



carry their respective measures to a triumphant issue. In the House, Gregg 
was powerless ; and in the Senate so was King. In the House every measure 
antagonistic to the King bill was voted down, while in the Senate no action 
was taken. 

**There was but one map of the state at the time, accessible to mem- 
bers of the Legislature, and it not infrequently happened that while one 
committee was using it another wanted it. In the belief that a map placed 
before the Senate committee on the organization of counties at the proper 
time might be in his favor. King procured paper and the necessary instru- 
ments, and, occupying the better part of a night in the work, he traced out a 
rude map of the state. 

**In a few days the Senate committee on the organization of counties 
was to meet, and Johnson asked for the use of King's map for that com- 
mittee. General Clarke, w^ho was a member of the committee, was not 
present during the early part of the meeting, nor was Harvey Gregg; and 
Johnson, who was a fluent talker and an importunate man, had it all his 
own way. The committee, as a compromise measure doubtless, agreed to 
report in favor of his plan; but before the session adjourned, Clarke came 
in and inquired what had been done. Being told, he studied the map at- 
tentively for some moments, and then burst out with : 'That fellow,' pointing 
to Johnson, *or some friend of his, owns land on which he expects the 
county seat of this new county to be located,' and, at this sally, Johnson in- 
dignantly left the room. 

"Then King approached the table on which the map lay and pointed 
out, as well as he could, the reasons why the House bill organizing Johnson 
county should become a law ; and, after considering the matter carefully, 
General Clarke said: 'You shall have it, sir!' and, before the committee ad- 
journed, it was agreed to report in favor of the House bill. 

*'The next day the report was accordingly made and concurred in, the 
bill was passed, and, on the last day of December, 1822, it received the 
Governor's signature and became a law of the land. It is in the following 
words : 

** 'Section i. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of 
Indiana, That from and after the first Monday in May next,, all that part of 
the county of Delaware contained in the following boundaries, to-wit : Be- 
ginning at the southwest corner of section thirty-four, in township eleven 
tiorth, of range five east, the same being the southwest comer of Shelby 
county; thence running north with -the line of said county to the southeast 

Digitized by 



corner of Marion county; thence west to the nortlieast corner of Morgan 
county; thence south on the line of said county to the township line dividing 
townships ten and eleven; thence east to said line to the place of beginning, 
shall constitute and form a new county, which shall be called and designated 
by the name of Johnson. 

** *Sec. 2. That John Parr, of the county of Washington; Adam Mil- 
ler, of the county of Jackson; John W. Lee, of the county of Monroe; James 
Gregory, of the county of Shelby, and Archibald McEwing, of the county 
of Bartholomew, be and they are hereby appointed commissioners for the 
purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice for said county, agreeably to 
the provisions of an act entitled, "An act for fixing of seats of justice in all 
new counties that may be laid off." The commissioners above named or a 
majority of them shall meet at the house of John Smiley in said new county, 
on the first Monday in May, and proceed to the duties assigned them by the 

** *Sec. 3. That the said county shall enjoy all the rights, privileges 
and jurisdictions, which, to a separate county, do or may properly belong. 

" *Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the sheriff of Bartholomew county to 
notify the commissioners above named, either in person or by written notice, 
of their said appointment, and the county commissioners of the county of 
Johnson shall allow him such compensation therefor as they shall deem just 
and reasonable, to be paid out of the county treasury of said county. 

** *Sec. 5. The circuit court and all other courts of said county of John- 
son shall meet and be holden at the house of John Smiley, or at any other 
place the said court shall adjourn to, until suitable accommodations can be 
provided at the permanent seat of justice of said county; and so soon as the 
said courts are satisfied of that fact, they shall adjourn thereto, after which 
they shall meet and be permanently held at such seat of justice. 

*' *Sec. 6. The agent who shall be appointed to superintend the sales of 
lots at the said seat of justice shall reserve ten per centum out of the proceeds 
thereof, and also of all donations made to said county, which he shall pay 
over to such person or persons as may be appointed by law to receive the 
same, for the use of a library for said county. 

" *Sec. 7. The board of county commissioners of said county of John- 
son shall, within twelve months after the permanent seat of justice ^hall 
have been selected, proceed to erect necessary public buildings therein. 

" *Sec. 8. The same powers, privileged and authorized, that are granted 
to the qualified voters of the county of DuBois and other counties named in 

Digitized by 



an act entitled, "An act incorporating a county library in the counties therein 
named,*' approved January 28, 181 9, to organize, conduct and support a 
county library, are hereby granted to the qualified voters of the county of 
Johnson, and the same power and authority therein granted to, and the same 
duties therein required of, the several officers and the person or persons 
elected by the qualified voters of DuBois county and the other counties in 
the said act nanied, for carrying into effect the provisions of the act en- 
titled, **An act incorporating a county library in the county of DuBois," and 
the counties therein named, according to the true interest and meaning 
thereof, are hereby extended to and required of the officers and other per- 
sons elected by the qualified voters of the county of Johnson. 

" *Sec. 9. This act to be in force from and after its passage. 

" 'G. W. Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
" 'Ratliff Boon, President Assembly. 

"'Approved December 31, 1822. 

" ^William Hendricks.' 

••Oliver H. Smith was, at the time, a member of the Legislature, and 
he proposed for the new county the name of Johnson, in memory of John 
Johnson, one of the judges of the first supreme court of the state. Governor 
Hendricks at the same time appointed John Smiley sheriff of the new county 
and issued a writ of election directed to him, appointing the 8th of March, 
1823, as the day on which the qualified voters of the county were to as- 
semble at the house of Hezekiah Davison, on Blue river, and Daniel Boaz, on 
White river, and elect two associate judges, one clerk of the circuit court 
and one recorder, in manner and form as required by law." 

The error in fixing the place of beginning of the boundary at the 
southwest corner of section 34, instead of at the southeast corner, persisted 
until the revision of the laws of the state in 1843, when it was corrected. 
Johnson county, therefore, has an area of three hundred and twenty square 
miles, or two hundred and eleven thousand two hundred and six acres, count- 
ing the "over-run" shown by the plat surveys. 

The county is drained by White river (the west fork), Blue river and 
their tributaries. The first named crosses the extreme northwestern part of 
the county, cutting off about one thousand acres. Its tributaries, beginning 
at the north side of the county, are Pleasant run. Honey creek, Stott's creek 
and Indian creek. In pioneer days these creeks were good mill streams, 


Digitized by 



though not large. Especially were Stott's creek and Indian creek favored as 
mill sites, Houghter's and Slaughter's and St. John's mills being located on 
Stott's creek, and Barnes' mill and Porter's mill on Indian creek. But these 
streams, especially Stott's and Indian creek, draining the rougher sections of 
the extreme western and southwestern part of the county, are now, except 
in times of freshet, mere rivulets, affording a scant water supply in the 
woodland pastures. It is estimated that one-third of the territory of the 
county finds its natural drainage into the White river tributaries. 

Blue river crosses the extreme southeastern part of the county, cutting 
off perhaps fourteen hundred acres. Just within the limits of the county. 
Sugar creek unites with it to form Driftwood. Sugar creek and its princi- 
pal tributary, Young's creek, receives the drainage of nearly all the rest of 
the county. Sugar creek is a fine stream, entering the county one and a half 
miles northeast of Needham, passing out of the county for two miles in 
the range of Franklin, and then in a general southerly course to its outlet. 
Its extreme western channel is near the mouth of Young's creek, about three 
miles west of the eastern boundary line of the county. 

Sugar creek has always been marked by the purity of its water and its 
abundance of fish. In pioneer days its waters were fairly alive with fine 
fish, and even today almost every bend of the stream is marked with camp 
sites. Numerous fine springs abound along its course, notably at the Yellow 
Bluffs west of Edinburg, at the Barnett Bluffs just below the mouth of 
Young's creek, at Camp Comfort, and at the Needham railroad bridge. 

Along Sugar creek many grist mills were built at a very early day. 
Collier's mill was built near the old ford at the foot of Yellow Bluffs, it 
being certain that it was built and running in March, 183 1. Two miles 
further north, near the center of section 20, William, Simon and James 
Shaffer built a saw mill about the year 1832, to which was later added a 
grist mill. At the crossing of the Greensburg state road, as early as 1822, 
John Smiley, first sheriff of the county, built a mill, probably the first struc- 
ture of the kind in this county. About the same time that the Shaffer 
brothers built their mill, the McDermed brothers erected a mill near the 
center of section 10, in what is now Needham township. 

Little Sugar creek is the principal tributary of Sugar creek in the north 
half of the county, and affords an outlet for most of the drainage of Qark 
township. Near its confluence with Sugar creek John Ogle built a mill, prob- 
ably before 1826, and it was still known as Ogle's mill as late as 1830. No 
stream of any importance drains into Sugar creek from the east, at any place 

Digitized by 



within the confines of the county. Herriott's creek is a small stream flowing 
into Sugar creek about one mile south of the mouth of Young's creek, deriv- 
ing it3 name from Samuel Herriott, who entered the "eighty" where the 
streams unite their flow. 

Young's creek, the principal tributary of Sugar creek, drains a large 
part of the middle section of the county, and flows into Sugar creek near the 
west half-mile stone in section 17, in Blue River township, and near the head 
of Barnett's Bluff. It was named from Joseph Young, who entered one 
hundred and sixty acres in section 8, near its mouth, in 1821. The United 
States surveyors who originally surveyed the lands in the county named the 
stream Lick creek, because of the numerous and excellent deer licks that 
were scattered along its course. According to Judge Banta, **a noted deer 
lick was found a few miles north of the Big Spring at Hopewell, while an- 
other, equally noted, was at the mouth of the Hurricane. But Young's 
Cabin soon came to be known better than the licks, and the first settlers, 
caring little for the work of the surveyors in naming the streams, by com- 
mon consent changed Lick creek into Young's creek, and time has sanctioned 
their act." No county record perpetuates the earlier name. 

Young's creek also furnished power for the rude water mills of the 
first settlers. John Harter located thereon in the "twenties," and for a few 
years ran a mill about a mile below Franklin. "He bought his mill irons 
of John Smiley, for which he agreed to pay in com, two bushels to be due 
every other week, until the irons were paid for." The late Jefferson D. 
Jones used to tell that Harter had no bacon and he no meal, and that by 
agreement, he took a half bushel of meal every other week from the mill, 
for which he left with the miller its worth in bacon. 

About 1827 Levi Moore got a little mill in operation on Young's creek 
at the mouth of Moore's creek, and, still later, Cornelius Covert built a 
mill on Young's creek about one-fourth of a mile north of the Bluff road. 
The mills on Young's creek, however, were, like those built on the smaller 
streams in the western part of the county, not successful and by 1850 all 
were abandoned. 

Flowing into Young's creek from the east and northeast are Grassy 
creek, having its headwaters near Greenwood; Indian creek, with its source 
near Whiteland ; and Hurricane creek, its biggest feeder on that side. Hur- 
ricane creek, sometimes in the early records known as "Harikane creek," was 
originally called Camp creek, but the latter name was soon displaced A few 
years before the first settlers came to Franklin, a hurricane had passed 

Digitized by 



through this place and had left its devastating mark upon the two valleys 
joining here. This incident was sufficient to fasten the name to the stream 
in preference to the name given by Whetzel when he located his camp thereon 
at an earlier day. 

From the west Young's creek receives into its channel Moore's creek at 
Hopewell. This creek is named after Levi Moore, who in 1822 located on 
the present road leading to Hopewell at the site now occupied by the Mc- 
Caslin homesteads, just west of Young's creek. The Burkhart brothers — 
David, Lewis, Henry, George and William — came to Franklin township in 
1822 by way of the Indian Trail, David building his cabin near the Canary 
homestead in section 20 and gave his name to a small stream flowing thence 
to Young's creek. His brother Henry stopped further south, as did his 
brother George, both entering lands in section 4, on the north side of Nin- 
eveh township, and the family name was also given to the creek that enters 
Young's creek near the line of Nineveh and Franklin. 

One other tributary of Sugar creek deserves mention although it finds 
its outlet in the county to the south. Nineveh creek drains quite a large part 
of the township of the same name. The tradition as to its name is given by 
Judge Banta : "Richard Berry, living at the mouth of Sugar creek with his 
son Nineveh, a lad in his 'teens, wandered up the Teatherwood,' as the In- 
dians had named it, on a hunting expedition. Espying a deer on the oppo- 
site bank of the stream, young Nineveh shot and killed it. Crossing over 
for his game, the youth shouldered it and undertook to recross on a log, but 
a misstep sent both boy and game into the stream, which was covered by a 
thin coating of ice, and he was well-nigh drowned before rescued. Then 
the stream came to be known as 'Nineveh's Defeat,' and in the process of 
time the surplus word was dropped and 'Nineveh' left to perpetuate the 
memory of the lad's misadventure." Mention is made of one mill on the 
stream run by Isaac Williams as early as 1832, but it was doubtless a failure 
from inadequate water supply, as no later record of this mill is found. 

The highest ground in the county constitutes a broad, flattened ridge 
or watershed, extending in a north-south direction three or four miles west 
of the center of the county, and bending eastward at both its north and 
south ends to reach points at or beyond the middle line. One of the most 
striking features of the surface, from the geologist's point of view, is the 
number of unusually large granitic boulders to be found on the ridge from 
Greenwood to Rocklane. The same evidence of glacial action is found over 
widespread areas of the county, but in many farms they have been broken up 

Digitized by 




and removed. For many years gravel in abundance and of fine quality was 
found along the principal streams of the county, but the supply is no longer 
equal to the demand for road building purposes and pit gravel has now come 
largely into use in all new work, especially in the western half of the county. 


The mean temperature and average precipitation at Franklin are given 
in the following table : 

Mean Average 
Month. Temperature. Precipitation. 

Degrees F. Inches. 

January 29.5 2.91 

February 30.0 2.53 

March 40.9 3.58 

April 52.7 2.44 

May 63.5 3.72 

June 71.8 3.78 

July 76.6 2.52 

August 72.0 2.85 

September 65.9 3.04 

October 53.9 2.50 

November 1 41.5 3.48 

December 33.0 2.90 

Annual 52.6 36.25 


Highest temperature recorded, 107^ in July, 1901. This record covers 
the period from 1887 to 1908, inclusive, but within that time the July records 
are missing in the following years: 1889, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 
1897, 1898, 1904, and 1906. Lowest temperature recorded, 17^ below zero, 
February, 1905. January and February records are complete for the entire 
period of record, 1887 to 1908, inclusive. 

The average dates of killing frosts at Franklin are: Last in spring, 
April 21 ; first in autumn, October 18. 

Digitized by 




Of the 206,080 acres in the county, 95.8 per cent., or 197,403 acres, is in 
farms varying in size from less than three to over 1,000 acres. As ascer- 
tained by the census of 1910, there are 2,025 farms in the county, of which 
over one-half include 50 to 175 acres each. The farming land in the county 
increased nearly 118 per cent, in value in the ten years from 1900 to 1910, 
being listed in the latter year at a total valuation of $19,204,550, or an aver- 
age of over $97 per acre for the entire county; while the total valuation of 
farm property, including buildings, implements, domestic animals, etc., adds 
over $5,000,000 to this amount, making an average valuation of land and 
farm property together of about $125 per acre. 

The following tables taken from the report of the census of 1910, show 
in condensed form the principal crops raised, the acreage, and the yield per 
acre; and the number and valuation of the principal kinds of domestic ani- 
mals and poultry : 


Acres. Bushels Tons. 

Corn 58,615 2,982,253 

Oats ^ , 3480 91,522 

Wheat 38,862 640,831 

Timothy hay 6,532 9,418 

Qover alone 10,275 13,549 

Timothy and clover mixed 3,4i6 4,807 

Clover seed ^ 6,645 

Potatoes 339 33^842 


Number. Value. 

Cattle 16,079 $512,923 

Horses 9»577 99^,243 

Mules 1,124 135430 

Swine 4^,335 288,881 

Sheep 11,596 5^997 

Poultry - 126,381 82,381 

Digitized by 




The civil township and the school township are separate and distinct 
legal entities, although the township trustee is the responsible head of each 
corporation. Each may make contracts, sue and be sued, as any other cor- 
porate body. We shall confine the present account to the civil township, the 
other being left to the chapter on schools. 

The origin of the township is quite remote and finds its beginnings in 
the prehistoric days of the Anglo-Saxon race. Originally, it was quite demo- 
cratic in character, the town meeting being the center of its political activity. 
The Indiana township, however, is not modeled after the form which found 
expression in the early English township, and which was later imitated by 
the New England settlers. 

The Indiana township was modeled after the Pennsylvania form, in 
this, the county was the distinctive unit of local self-government and was the 
unit of representation in the Legislature. The township became a mere sul>- 
division of the county, entrusted with certain local duties and powers. Under 
the Constitution of 1816 and the laws enacted thereunder the county had 
authority to divide its territory into townships. The officers of the town- 
ship were an inspector of elections, two fence viewers, two overseers of the 
poor, a supervisor of each road district, not more than two justices of the 
peace, and as many constables as there were justices. 

Up to 1831 these various places (other than the office of justice, which 
was elective) were filled annually by the county board. After that year 
the township officers named were elected annually at a township election 
held in April. At the beginning there were also appointed superintendents 
of the several school sections and "listers," or township assessors. The 
functions of officers pertaining to the civil township above named were con- 
tinued in the inspectors of elections, fence viewers and overseers of the 
poor until the revision of the Constitution in 185 1, when they were all com- 
bined in the township trustee's office, and this plan still obtains. 

The officers of the civil township are a township trustee, three members 
of the advisory board, an assessor, justices of the peace, constables and a 
supervisor for each road district 

Digitized by 




By the act of February i8, 1859, the General Assembly created the 
office of township trustee, vesting in him the powers theretofore entrusted 
to three township trustees and those formerly held by the inspector of elec- 
tions, the overseers of the poor and the fence viewers. The trustee under the 
terms of the act was to be elected annually on the first Monday in April. By 
the act in force September 19, 1881, the office was made a two-year office, 
and the term was again extended by the act approved March 11, 1889, to a 
four-year term. Acts of 1893, page 192, changed the date of holding the 
election from April to the general election in November, 1894, and every 
four years thereafter; the trustee to take office on the first Monday in August 
following his election. By the act of 1901 (Acts 1901, page 415), the trus- 
tee and assessor to be elected in November, 1904, should take office January 
1st following, and thereafter the terms of such officers should date from 
January ist. By a previous statute (Acts 1897, page 64) the election of 
trustees and assessors to have been held in 1898, was changed to the gen- 
eral election in 1900 and every fourth year thereafter. Again, by the act 
approved March 2, 1911, the time of election of trustees and assessors was 
changed from the general election in IQ12 to the general election in 1914, 
and every four years thereafter. Thus have these important offices been 
made the football of partisan politics and brought the office into more or 
less disrepute. 

The trustee receives two dollars per day for the time actually employed 
by him in the transaction of business. 

The trustee, under present laws, now has charge of the pecuniary af- 
fairs of his township, subject to certain checks on his power to be exercised 
by the advisory board and the county board. The county treasurer collects 
all taxes due the townships and twice a year, in June and December, makes 
settlement with the trustee, except as to the poor fund, which remains in the 
custody of the county officers. In the handling of the poor fund the trustee 
has authority under the law to extend relief to the poor in his township by 
issuing an order for the provisions or medical service rendered, but he makes 
no payments in cash. If the relief needed is greater than the sum of fifteen 
dollars quarterly will furnish, he must have authority from the county board 
to expend an amount in excess thereof. These orders become the basis for 
claims filed with the county board, who audit and allow the same and account 
is kept with the township of such expenditure. 

Digitized by 



In times past many abuses crept into the administration of the poor 
laws, calling for legislative action. But even yet in the hands of an official 
who is using his office for personal or political ends, the system is fraught 
with evil results. The board of county commissioners at their March ses- 
sion, 1869, passed the following resolution, which ought yet to guide the 
county board in auditing these poor accounts : 

"Whereas, irregularities in the administration of the poor laws arc 
found to exist in almost every township in the county and large sums of 
money in consequence thereof are at each term of the board drawn from the 
county treasury requiring heavy taxation of the people, much of which the 
board is satisfied is improperly and illegally allowed by the various trustees 
and by their action placed beyond the control of the commissioners: Now 
to remedy these evils, no claim shall be allowed for services or relief to any 
pauper except at the proper poor asylum of the county unless it shall be 
shown : 

*'i. That the pauper or persons for whom such relief is furnished 
could not be taken to the poor asylum. 

**2. That such services or relief were ordered by the proper trustee 
after his personal examination of the party demanding relief and service, 
and his or her personal pecuniary condition. 

"3. That such services were rendered or relief granted. 

"4. That the amount charged for such service is reasonable and in 
accordance with contract made therefor by such trustee at the time or before 
they were rendered." 

Conditions in this respect have vastly improved in our county in recent 
years, but examples are not wanting within the past twenty years to call 
attention to the possible evils existing under our present system of poor re- 
lief, and to emphasize the need of a more careful examination of these claims 
at the hands of the county board. 

Of the "outside'* poor relief extended by the trustees in Johnson county 
in 1 91 2 the following facts are obtained from the Indiana Bulletin of Chari- 
ties and Correction of date June, 1913: The total number receiving aid in 
the several townships is as follows : Blue River, 54 ; Clark, 8 ; Franklin, 244 ; 
Hensley, 24; Needham, 17; Nineveh, 10; Pleasant, 48; Union, 8; White 
River, 15. Total in county, 428, among 109 different families. The reasons 
assigned as necessitating aid are: Lack of employment, 3; sickness and 
burial, 89; old age, 6; widowhood or non-support, 42; insanity, 2; and blind, 
deaf or crippled, 8. Of the occupations in which those aided were engaged 

Digitized by 



all but four were laborers. The total value of the aid given was: Blue 
River, $408.66; Clark, $215.00; Franklin, $1,972.22; Hensley, $224.03; Need- 
ham, $420.11; Nineveh, $264.95; Pleasant, $831.03; Union, 195.36; White 
River, $176.20; a total for the county of $4,779.76. 

For the next year two townships. Pleasant and White River, make 
no "poor levy." The others will collect the following rates: Franklin, 2 
cents; Nineveh, i cent; Blue River, 4 cents; Hensley, 10 cents; Clark, 2 
cents; Union, 2 cents; and Needham, 2 cents. 

The aid given to the poor in this county is large as compared with 
many other counties of the same population : Jefferson county, with a popu- 
lation of 20,483, gives $1,489.26; Huntington county, population 28,982, 
gives $1,831.03; Hendricks county, population 20,840, gives $2,592.56; Har- 
rison county, population 20,232, gives $1,129.31; even Delaware county, 
with a population of over 51,000, gives $600 less than our county; the same 
is true of Elkhart county. Indeed, only two coimties in the state pay as 
much per capita for poor aid as does Johnson. 

Township trustees are ex officio inspectors of elections in the precinct 
in which they reside; they are required to see that public drains are kept 
open; they have general oversight of the work of the road supervisors, and 
many important duties as trustees of the school township. 


The advisory board was created by the General Assembly of 1899 
(Acts of 1899, page 150). It consists of three members and bears the same 
relation to the office of the township trustee that the county council does to 
the board of commissioners. The annual meeting of the advisory board is 
held in September, at which time estimates of township expenditure are sub- 
mitted by the trustee and appropriations made to cover the same. Upon thfe 
basis of these appropriations, the tax levy is made. The trustee may not 
incur a debt not included in these estimates and appropriations without the 
authority of the advisory board. This board also has the duty of auditing 
the annual report of the trustee submitted in January. Its members are al- 
lowed only nominal pay, five dollars per year. Members of the advisory 
board are usually men of high character, who, like members of the county 
council and of the school board, give their time and attention to the discharge 
of important public duties without compensation whenever the good of the 
community demands them. 

Digitized by 




The township assessor is elected for a term of four years. Each year 
he lists all personal property of his township for the purposes of taxation, 
and every four years he lists and values all real estate. These returns are 
filed with the county auditor and are later verified and corrected by the 
board of review. The assessor begins his work on March ist and concludes 
the same May 15th, making returns to the auditor of personal lists by May i8th 
and of real lists by the first Monday in June. He is allowed pay at 
the rate of two dollars and fifty cents per day for the time actually em- 
ployed, his deputies two dollars per day. The county council is given the 
right to limit the time, but the restriction is difficult of enforcement and the 
assessors usually find it necessary to put in all the time allowed. 


The supervisor of each road district is elected by the voters thereof at 
an election on the second Saturday after the first Monday in December, and 
serves two years. He has power to call out all able-bodied male persons 
(except the insane, idiotic, deaf, dumb and blind) between the ages of twenty- 
one and fifty, during not less than two days nor more than four days of 
each year, between the first days of May and December. Under his direc- 
tion the land owner may work out his road tax and get credit therefor in his 
first installment. 

Under the provisions of the new law (Acts 1913, page 862), road su- 
pervisors are to be elected at the general election in November, 1914, and 
serve two years. He is to take charge of, work and keep in good repair the 
roads of his district under the supervision of the trustee. All road taxes up 
to twenty dollars are worked out, all in excess of twenty dollars must be 
paid in cash. 


Justices of the peace are judicial officers, whose powers and duties have 
remained much the same throughout the history of our county. Their juris- 
diction is limited both as to territory and as to subject matter. In civil ac- 
tions founded on tort or contract where the debt or demand does not exceed 
two hundred dollars, they have jurisdiction over persons residing in the 
township. In actions for slander, for malicious prosecution, for breach of 

Digitized by 



marriage contract and in cases involving the title to real estate, they have 
no jurisdiction whatever. In criminal cases he has jurisdiction to try mis- 
demeanors and may punish by fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars, but 
may not inflict jail sentence. In the case of a fine the prisoner may be com- 
mitted to jail until the fine is paid or stayed. In other criminal cases he has 
authority to hold "preliminary trials" and require the defendant to give bond 
for his appearance to answer the charge in the circuit court. He may issue 
search warrants, writs of attachment and writs of ne exeat and of capias ad 
respondendum in certain cases. He presides at examinations in insanity 
cases. He has authority to solemnize marriages. 

In his court civil cases are tried by a jury of six, which number may be 
lessened by agreement of parties. Appeals in civil cases must be perfected 
in thirty days and in criminal cases .in ten days. Certain fees are prescribed 
by statute as emoluments of his office. 


The constable is the sheriff of the justice's court, serving all writs and 
processes issuing therefrom, and acting as a conservator of the public peace. 
Like the "squire,'' he receives fees fixed by statute. 


From the August election returns of the year 1823 it appears that three 
townships have been organized: Blue River, Nineveh and White River. 
Blue River seems to have been confined to so much of congressional town- 
ship II, in range 5, as is in Johnson county. White River extended over all 
the territory now included in White River, Pleasant and Clark. All the 
remainder of the county constituted Nineveh or Nineve township. 

Hensley township was formed March 5, 1827, and its boundaries in- 
cluded not only the present territory of that township, but in addition one row 
of sections off the west side of what is now Nineveh. Franklin township 
was recognized in 1826, but its boundaries are not defined; it probably in- 
cluded the territory now occupied by Franklin, Needham and Union, and 
one additional row of sections to the north thereof. 

At the May term, 1829, of the county board it is ordered "that there be 
a new township struck oflF White River bounded as follows : Beginning at 
the northwest corner of section 25, township 14 north, range 3 east, thence 

Digitized by 



east on county line to the northeast corner of Johnson county ; thence south 
on the county line to southeast corner of section 27, township 13 north, range 
5 cast; thence on section line west to southwest comer of section 25, town- 
ship 13 north, range 3 east; thence north on section line to place of beginning, 
which is called Pleasant township.'' At the same term, it is ordered that one 
mile off the south side of Franklin township to Young's creek be attached to 
Nineveh township. 

Union township was first formed and given a name at the July session, 
1830. The bounds were as follows : Commencing at the county line at the 
northwest corner of section 31, township 13, range 3, thence east on section 
line to range line dividing ranges 3 and 4 ; thence north one mile ; thence east 
two miles; thence south to the southeast comer of section 32, in township 12, 
range 4; thence west to the county line, thence north of beginning. This 
made the east line of the township coincident with the line of the Hopewell 
and Whiteland road. 

All the township boundaries were changed at the March term, 1832. 
Blue River township was bounded as follows: Beginning at the southeast 
comer of the county, thence north on the county line to Sugar creek, thence 
down Sugar creek and the "east fork of White river'* to the county line, 
thence east to beginning. Nineveh was bounded by a line beginning at its 
present southwest corner, thence east to '* White river," thence up said river 
to the mouth of Sugar creek, thence up Sugar creek to the mouth of Young's 
creek, thence up Young's creek to the line dividing sections 8 and 17, thence 
west to the range line dividing ranges 4 and 5, thence with its present bound- 
ary lines to the beginning. Hensley township was given its present limits. 
U'nion was bounded as follows : Beginning at the southwest corner of sec- 
tion 31 (its present northwest corner), thence east eight miles, thence south 
six miles, thence west to the county line and north to the beginning. White 
river began at the northwest comer of the county, ran thence east five miles, 
thence south seven miles, thence east one mile, thence south one mile, thence 
with the north line of Union to the county line, and north to the place of 
beginning. Pleasant township extended from White River township east to 
the county line, seven miles north and south and eleven miles east and west. 
All the remainder of the county formed Franklin township. 

At the May term, 1838, Clark was formed out of Pleasant and given 
its present boundaries, the line between Pleasant and White River having 
been changed in 1833 to the range line dividing ranges 3 and 4. As bridges 
were built over the streams so that voters could easily reach their places of 

Digitized by 



voting, th^ townships became more regular in shape. On the 13th day of 
September, 1877, the present bopndary line of Blue River was established, 
Sugar Creek and Young's creek being no longer a barrier. Needham town- 
ship was formed with its present boundaries on March 16, 1881, and the 
boundary lines as now established have Remained unchanged for more than 
thirty years. 


We have space only to give the names of those who have served the 
various townships as trustee since the law of 1859, giving the office its pres- 
ent name and character. 


G. W. Branham, i860, 1861, 1862, 1863; Thomas Williams, 1864; Will- 
iam McCasHn, 1865; Nathan M. Schofield, 1866; Jacob Peggs, 1867; A. 

D. Whitesides, 1868-1873; S. C. Dunn, 1873-1879; S. C Brown, 1879-1881; 
S. C Dunn, 1881 (resigned Nov. 10, 1881); Charles Byfield, 1881-1883; 
William S. Young, 1883-1885; W. T. Pritchard, 1885-1890; Robert A. 
Brown, 1890-1894; Frank McCollough, 1894-1900; Walter B. Farmer, 
1900-1905; William T. Anderson, resigned at once and his son. Homer 
Anderson, was appointed in January, 1905, and served until January i, 1909^ 
Gilbert Henderson, 1909-1915. 


H. N. Pinney, i860, 1861, 1862, 1863; Adam Mutz, 1864; E. K. Hos- 
ford, 1865; John C Kelly, 1866; I. M. Thompson, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870; 
Adam Mutz, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874; John Ward, 1875, 1876; A. W. Winter- 
berg, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880; James M. Carvin, 1880-1882; A. W. Winter- 
berg, 1882-1884; T. E. Valentine, 1884-1886; Dillard L. Deming, 1886- 
1890; Thomas Stine, 1890-1894; James M. Carvin, 1894-1900; William M. 
Perry, 1900-1905; Samuel Haslam, 1905-1909; Thomas A. Gooden, 1909- 


Ambrose Hibbs, i860, 1861 ; Josiah Ralston, 1862, resigned October 10; 
W. J. Mathes, 1862, 1863, 1864; James H. Pudney, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868; 

E. B. Graves, 1869, 1870; G. N. Hughes, 1871, 1872; E. B. Graves, 1873, 

Digitized by 



1874; D. D. Elliott, 187s, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880; Abner Hardin, 
1880-1884; John Calvin, 1884-1888; Joseph Hughes, 1888-1890; Silas A. 
White, 1890-1894; Joseph Hughes, 1894-1899 (died September 18, 1899); 
Abner Hardin, 1899-1900; John B. Foxworthy, 1900-1905; Thomas W. 
Cravens, 1905-1909; Edward E. Cobb, 1909-1915. 


CJeorge W. Musselraan was elected in i860 and annually thereafter for 

eighteen succeeding years, except the years 1874 and 1875 when E. W. 

Af organ was elected. He w^as elected again in 1888 and served until 1894; 

an altogether remarkable record of twenty-five years of service. Other 

trustees were: William H. Jeffries, 1878-1880; Wm. C. H. Coleman, 1880- 

188:2; J. K. P. Musselman, 1882-1886; Alonzo M. Ragsdale, 1886-1888; 

John T. Paskins, 1895-1900; Henry A. Shank, 1900-1905; George W. Cole- 

nian, T905-1909; Sanford A. Richardson, 1909-1915. 


John Harris, i860, 1861 ; John Kerlin, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1867, 
1868, 1869, 1870; John Harris, 1866; Willis Deer, 1871-1877; Jesse T. 
Harris, 1877, 1878; Lewis T. Deer, 1878-1882; T. C. M. Perry, 1882-1886; 
JeflFerson Vandivier, 1886-1890; Lewis T. Deer, 1890-1895; Eli P. Hay- 
maker, 1895-1900; John W. Rivers, 1900-1905; James W. Brown, 1905- 
190^ ; Otis M. Vandivier, 1909- 19 15. 


John Fullen, i860, 1861, 1862; E. W. Wyrick, 1863; Henry Presser, 
i8S^ ; A. J. Secrest, 1865; E. W. Wyrick, 1866-1869; Jacob B. Dresslar, 
186^-1877; James Collins, 1877-1881 ; Gardner Wilks, 1881-1884; William 
H. r^addock, 1884-1886; Jesse T. Harris, 1886-1890; John J. Rush, 1890- 
18^5 ; John R. Brickert, 1895- 1898 (resigned Feb. 12, 1898) ; John Hardin, 
1898-1900; James Collins, 1900-1904 (died July, 1904) ; John W. Richard- 
son, 1904-1909; Jacob J. Clary, 1909-1915. 


John Tracy, 1860-1881; Daulton Wilson, 1881-1884; William H. Bass, 
1884-1888; James B. Lyster, 1888-1890; M. J. Duggan, June 6, 1890-1895; 

Digitized by 



William D. McCartney, 1895-1900; I. Newt Brown, 1900-1905; John C 
McClain, 1905-1909; John T. Speas, 1909-1911 (died in May, 1911) ; James 
W. Whitaker, May 2y, 1911-1915. 


James Williams, 1860-1861 ; John McNutt, 1862; George Cutsinger, 
1862-1866; John McNutt, 1867; Socrates Carver, 1868- 1869- 1870; James 
Williams, 1871-1881 ; Henry Williams, 1881-1884; James H. Banta, 1884- 
1886; Andrew J. Huffman, 1886-1888; Samuel Billingsley, 1888-1890; 
Presley R. Griffith, 18890-1895; Henry G. Williams, 1895-1900; George 
Wilde, 1900-1905; Charles Boone, 1905-1909; John T. Overstreet, 1909- 



William Clark, 1881-1883; W. T. Hougham, 1883; Joseph Kerlin, 
1884: James Owens, 1884-1886; William B. Smiley, 1886-1890; David H. 
Keay, 1890-1895; Jared V. Salisi^ury, 1895-1900; James H. Pottenger, 
1900-1901 (died July 31, 1901) ; -^laboroe Scott, 1901-1905; Barney 
Vaught, 1905-1909; William -Mi-Kisher, Sr., 1909-1915. 


Digitized by 



Digitized by 



Digitized by 




Of the first court house Judge Banta says (Historical Sketch of John- 
son County, page 32) : "It is uncertain when the contract for building a 
court house was let, but it is certain that the house was not ready for oc- 
cupancy in March, 1824, but was ready in October of the same year. Will- 
iam Shaffer, the county recorder, who was by occupation a carpenter, un- 
dertook the work, and it is safe to assume that it was begun in the spring 
of 1824, but for what price is now unknown. The late Thomas Williams, 
however, who was the owner of the only yoke of oxen then in or about the 
new town, drew the logs to the building site for one dollar. The new court 
house was in keeping with the poverty of the county. It was two stories 
high, was built of hewed logs, and a broad wooden outside stair led from 
the ground up to the second floor, which was the court room. This was 
furnished with a table, two splint-bottomed chairs, one for the judge and one 
other for the clerk, with wooden benches without backs for the accommoda- 
tion of lawyers, jurymen, litigants and spectators." 

The "daubing" of the court house by Adam Lash and Henry Burk- 
hart in 1826 was improved upon by "sealing and weatherboarding" the same 
the following year. 

Johr. L. Jones, who first came to Franklin in 1832 to attend *'muster," 
says that the railing surrounding the bench was made of ironwood saplings 
with the bark peeled off. The building stood on the north end of lot 36 of 
the original plat north of the present site of the Citizens National Bank. 

No court was held in this court house until the March term, 1825 ; one 
term having been held at the house of John Smiley, near "Smiley's Mill," 
on October 16, 1823, and one term at the house of George King, in Franklin, 
in March, 1824. After 1825 the court met regularly at the court house on 
the third Mondays of March and September, and lasted six days if the 
business demanded. The board of county justices met at the same place 
on the first Monday in January, and of each alternate month thereafter. 
But Judge Banta is authority for the statement that the county officers 
never had rooms in the old log court house. 


Digitized by 



In the year 1830 a new court house was ordered built At the January 
session it is ''ordered that Thomas Williajns, county agent, advertise that 
there will be let to the lowest bidder on Tuesday the second day of the next 
term of this board, the building and enclosing of a brick house for a court 
house forty feet square, two stories high, with two doors to be covered and 
a suitable cupola. The foundation to be built one foot with rock." It is 
further t^rdered that Isaac Smock, Abraham Lowe and George W. King, 
Es(i , be appointed a committee to procure a suitable plan and draft for the 
court house. Thomas Williams, county agent, is also ordered to **open a 
book and keep the same open for the purpose of receiving donations to 
assist in building a court house in Franklin." 

Evidently, the first committee did not look after its task, for at the 
March session it is ordered that 'Tatrick Cowan, Mahlon Seybold, Abraham 
Lowe, Thomas Henderson, Thomas Needham and George W. King be ap- 
pointed a committee to attend at the court house on Tuesday, the ninth in- 
stant, and let out to the lowest bidder the building of a brick house in the 
town of Franklin for a court house to set on the public square to be forty 
feet scjuare two stories high. The plan of which house shall be agreed on 
by said committee and said committee is hereby authorized to enter into 
Articles of Agreement for the building of said house to take good bonds 
with approved security for the faithful performance of said contract and 
also authorized to contract for the payment in advance of all moneys now 
in the hands of the county treasurer or that may be due to the Treasurer 
from the Collector for the year 1829, also all moneys due the County Agent 
on lots sold and that may become due so fast as the same can be collected 
and also promise to make such annual payments as said committee in their 
discretion may think the county will be able to make.'' 

The board also orders the county treasurer and county agent to hand to 
George W. King within six days a statement of the amount of moneys in 
their hands and the amount due them and not paid. Plans had not been 
secured, for on the same day the county agent is directed to procure '*from 
Cal Morrow or any other person so soon as possible a plan for the Court 
House." Even this resource must have failed, for at the November term, 
Abraham Lowe, one of the board, was allowed two dollars for his trip to 
Indianapolis to get the plans, and Samuel Morrow, of the same city, was 
allowed five dollars for "drawing the draught of the Johnson County Court 

Tht contract was let on March 9, 1830, to Samuel Herriott and John 

Digitized by. 



Herriotl for one thousand four hundred and twenty-seven dollars, and the 
board made an advance payment to the contractors of five hundred dollars. 
At the May term following the contractors and the board agree "that the 
following alteration shall be made in the building of the court house, to-wit, 
put but one outside door and that to be in the north side of said house also 
to put the offices at the north side and to make the brick wall of the under 
story in place of two and a half brick thick but two brick thick and the 
upper story but one and a half brick thick and to put a brick cornice to said 
house and the ballance of the contract to remain as it was entered into/' 
No change in the contract price is noted. 

More than a year after the board orders still other changes. The con- 
tractors are ordered to put in sufficient timbers "to make the house sufficient 
and permanent," extra pay to be given contractors therefor. In July, 1831, 
the board further orders that "the contractors for building the Court House 
in r'ranklin put no partition wall in said house, and that they put a door in 
the south side of the house in addition to the one in the north side, and 
that the joists in said house, in the upper story to be but ten inches by three 
inches and that the windows be made for twenty-four lights 8 by 10 inches." 

William Shaflfer secured the contract for "the inside work" for the sum 
of three hundred forty-nine dollars and fifty cents. The building was com- 
pleted and accepted by the board on May 8, 1832, under the terms of the 
contract. The "finishing touches" on the work were yet to be done. At the 
same term, they invite bids on the following work: "Finishing cupola 
with Venetian circular shutters, Venetian blinds to be three inches wide; 
pedestal to cupola to be finished by ceiling with one and one-half inch pop- 
lar plank with block cornice, two of the shutters to the cupola to be hung 
on hinges to open and shut, one on the east side, the other on the west side ; 
lay the second floor with one and one-fourth inch poplar plank tongued and 
grooved; upper loft to be ceiled with five-eighths inch poplar plank, under 
side dressed." 

"Run upstairs with turned post and scjuare banister; run partitions on 
second floor of one and one- fourth inch poplar plank and put panel doors, locks 
and keys agreeable to the draft, also the letting out of the painting of 
cupola and pedestal, roof of cupola and pedestal to be painted white, 
Venetian blinds to cupola to be green and the painting of the outside brick 
wall with Venetian red and penciled." 

The building cost about two thousand dollars and was quite a fine 
structure for that day. The room in the northeast corner of the second 

Digitized by 



floor was assigned to the clerk and recorder. John L. Jones remembers 
that there were four fire places in the court room on the second floor, one in 
* each corner of the room. The floor of the lower story was of brick. The 
judge's bench was made by William Shaflfer at a cost of nine dollars. But 
improvement was the order of the day. In 1835, the board found that the 
county would have a surplus of five hundred dollars at the end of the year 
and took steps to alter the court house plan. They decided to have three 
rooms on the first floor, one for the clerk and recorder, and two for jury 
rooms, *'to be studded, filled in and plastered,'' and "to take down all peti- 
tions upstairs and make one room for the circuit court and make a bench 
and bar.-' 

The heating plant of the court house as well as of the jail must have 
been unsatisfactory, for at the March term, 1837, E. and J. Herriott are 
allowed fifty-four dollars and twelve and one-half cents "for stove and pipe 
and blank book and stationery furnished the clerk's office and kittle furnished 
the jailor to keep fire in the jail." 

At the August term, 1848, of the county board, Peter Shuck and Samuel 
Eccles were named as a committee to procure plans and specifications for 
a new court house. At the December term, bids are invited to be filed in the 
clerk's office by January 15th following. At the time fixed, the matter was 
continued and new plans ordered. Nothing came of this action, however, 
and on May 18, 1849, this second court house was destroyed by fire. 

Plans were promptly adopted at the next session of the board for the 
third court house to be erected in the county of Johnson, and bids were ad- 
vertised for in the Indiana State Sentinel and The Franklin Examiner. At 
the time fixed, July 4, 1849, the board met and awarded the contract to 
Edwin May, of Indianapolis, for ten thousand and eighty-four dollars. The 
new building was to be fifty feet wide by eighty-four feet long, with eighteen- 
inch limestone foundation and brick above. G. M. Overstreet, lawyer and 
surveyor, located and gave the levels for the foundation. John Elder pre- 
pared the plans and his work seems to have been done w^ith great care, as 
the contract based on the same is very complete in detail. 

At this time quite a controversy arose about the location of the new 
building. By the original plat of the public square. Main street was extended 
through the same, and the town board, at the instance of many citizens, 
ordered the marshal to open up Main street through the square. The 
county board was hastily called together to consider the matter, and after 
hearing many suggestions as well as certain proposals to locate the court 

Digitized by 



house Oil Other lands, a compromise with the town was reached whereby 
the new court house was to be erected in the middle of the east half of the 
square, the w^est line thereof to be ten feet east of Main street. 

In August, 1850, the town of Franklin was authorized to maintain a 
market house at the northwest corner of the public square, and at the same 
time a new jail was built at the southwest corner. Under these conditions, 
the puWic square must have presented a crowded appearance, the effect 
heightened somewhat by a board fence surrounding all. 

For the first time in the county's history, all the officers are ordered 
to keep their rooms in the new court house. Two "cannon coal stoves of 
the size used by Mr. Fox" (the treasurer) are ordered for the court room, 
and five smaller stoves are ordered for the other offices. And the treasurer 
is ordered to procure a car load of coal for use in the same, the first record 
we have of the use of this fuel in Johnson county. With all these con- 
veniences, officers were slow to move in and the board found it necessary in 
June, 1 85 1, to enter an order "to compel Henry Fox to take possession and 
use the proper room in the east side of the court house down stairs.*' At 
the same term, the clerk is authorized to rent his room in the court house to 
Finch & Slater for one year at a rental of forty dollars exclusive of, or fifty 
dollars including fuel, but the tenants shall not be allowed to use a wood 
stove. It also appears that Hay & Williams rented rooms in the court 
house for their printing office in 1852. The court room was frequently 
used for church services. 

Again, fire brought to destruction the court house. On the evening 
of December 12, 1874, fire broke out in the stairway leading to the cupola 
and completely destroyed the building and many records and papers. The 
only record destroyed which has interfered with present legal titles was the 
record then making in the common pleas court. The county has been lucky 
in passing through two such fires and suffering no greater loss of records. 

In this connection, the writer would call attention tb the lack of care 
now taken to preserve the records, especially in the recorder's office. Many 
of the general indexes and all of the records are kept in the open room, and 
a bad fire in that office would create endless confusion in titles. This is 
equally true of many records in the clerk's office. All records having to do 
with conveyances of land, partition records, and settlements of estates ought 
always to be kept in fire proof vaults. 

The next court house was a temporary frame structure built by the 
county on the lot where the city building now stands. After much contro- 

Digitized by 



versy, the board of commissioners, on March 26, 1879, resolved to erect a 
new house, the fifth structure of the kind. Four months later, they adopted 
plans offered by George W. Buenting, architect, and the next day authorized 
a bond issue of seventy-five thousand dollars, to pay for the building. The 
contract was duly awarded on September 8, 1879, to Farman & Pierce on 
their bid of seventy-nine thousand one hundred dollars. The contract was 
executed on behalf of the county by Peter Demaree, Robert Jennings and 
Joseph Jenkins, on September 22, 1879. James H. Pudney was made super- 
intendent of construction. The work of building occupied a little more 
than two years. The contractors claimed a loss on the work in a large 
amount, and filed with the auditor on December 10, 1881, a statement show- 
ing such loss to reach more than twenty thousand dollars, and asking relief 
of the board. No record is found that their request was favorably con- 
sidered or acted on. 

Other items of expenditure for the new structure were : For furniture,. 
$6,391.00; for heating plant, $8,299.00; for the clock, $3,070.00; for gas 
service, plant, $757.69. 

On August 31, 1882, the board entered an order requiring all county 
officers to move into the new building by the 5th prox. On the 22nd of 
the same month, they ordered a telephone placed in the court room, the 
first record I find of this modern utility in use in the offices of the county. 
It was ordered installed by the Central Telephone Company. It was not 
until 1897 ^^^ ^^ \oQ,2\ company began to give service to the county, the 
auditor's office being first favored, but a year later six telephones are con- 
tracted for, at a-yearly rental of twenty-four dollars each. 

Frank M. Israel was appointed janitor for the court house in 1882 
and served many years at a salary of three hundred and sixty-five dollars. 
Others who have served in the same capacity are Monroe Forsyth, Ameficus 
Wright, John E. Legan and John W. Wishard. The last named will on 
September 4, I9i3, have completed fourteen years of service as janitor. 
The salary is now fixed at eight hundred dollars. 

The repair and maintenance of the court house for the year 1912 cost 
the county the sum of four thousand one hundred nine dollars and nineteen 


The first county jail was erected in the year 1826, under contract with 
Samuel Herriott. It was, of course, a rude log structure. At the May- 
term of that year, the board of justices orders that the '^contractor for build- 

Digitized by 



ing a jail in Franklin in place of putting but one window in each story seven 
inches by three feet put two windows one in each end seven inches by 
eighteen inches and in room of making the logs for said jail eighteen feet 
long they be seventeen feet and in place of sealing the upper loft with three- 
quarters inch poplar plank it be laid down with hewed timber nine inches 
thick.*' Nothing is known of the location of the first jail. 

Seven years later, the board gives notice that it will let out to the lowest 
bidder the moving of the jail "from the site it now occupies to the southeast 
comer of lot No. 56, also the fencing off on said lot a stray pen of posts and 
rails and putting a good and substantial gate to the same/' This jail re- 
mained in use until early in the year 1838, w^hen a prisoner set fire to the 
building and it was burned to the ground. It is recalled that the prisoner 
was badly burned by the fire of his own setting, but in the excitement inci- 
dent to the fire made his escape. 

In March, 1838, the board decides to build a new jail on the lot where 
the second jail stood, and at the May term of that year let the contract to 
James Rivers and John A. Lash at five hundred dollars. Samuel Herriott is 
appointed agent to superintend the building. The work was completed by 
November, and at that time the board resolves that it wmII issue an order at 
the next March term to Lash and Rivers for the contract price. 

This jail was a secure log building, the walls of three courses of logs, 
the middle course being vertical and the other two horizontal. The *'credit- 
ors' jail" occupied the second-story room. In the middle of the floor of the 
creditors' cell was a trap-door, through which criminals by way of a ladder 
were conducted to their cell on the first floor. The ladder was then re- 
moved and the trap-door fastened above them. 

At the August term, 1850, the county board decides to build a new- 
jail on "the south end of the Public Square west of Main Street," and in 
January following let the contract to John Craig and Joseph Paris at four 
thousand eight hundred dollars. The jailor's house was to be eighteen by 
forty feet, the jail to be eigliteen feet square, outside measurement. The 
structure w^as to be of brick, two stories high, heated by a hot air furnace 
of brick built into the structure. 

From this jail, on the evening of October 31, 1867, the mob of Pleasant 
township citizens took John Patterson and Henry Hatchell and hung them 
to a beech tree in Lysander Adam's wockIs, an account of which is given 
in another connection. After this deed of violence, the grand jury condemned 
the jail as unsafe and action was at once taken to build a stronger and safer 

Digitized by 



prison. To this end, the county acquired title to lot 54 of the original plat, 
paying J*. O. Martin one thousand six hundred dollars therefor. Isaac 
Hodgson was employed to draw plans and specifications and the contract 
was duly let to Farman & Company, and B. F. Haugh & Company at the sum 
of thirty-nine thousand nine hundred dollars. This building is still in use. 
The cost to the county for 191 2 of boarding prisoners in the county 
jail was five hundred ninety-six dollars and eighty-five cents; all other jail 
expense, four hundred thirty-four dollars and nine cents. 


The problem of the proper care and custody of dependent poor has been 
a vexatious one from the beginning of the history of the county. Overseers 
of the poor for the various townships were appointed by the board of county 
justices as early as 1826, whose duty it was to care for the poor in their 
respective jurisdictions. By the act of 183 1, the overseers of the poor were 
required to cause all poor persons who were a public charge to be "farmed 
out'' on contracts on the first Monday of May annually. Poor children were 
apprenticed, males until the age of twenty-one and females until the age of 
eighteen. The "Hoosier Schoolmaster" fell in love with a girl apprentice, 
whose lot was no more unhappy than many such an one bound out under this 

This "farming out" was in most cases done at public auction, a ceremony 
much resembling the slave auctions of the South, with this difference, if a 
slave was very old and feeble, he sold at a low figure, while a pauper of the 
same class sold at a high figure. A characteristic record of the time is the 
following : 

"Comes now the overseers of the poor of Clark township and files the 
following report, to-wit : We, the undersigned overseers of the poor of Clark 
Township, in the County of Johnson do certify that on the 13th day of the 
present month, May, after due notice having been given, we farmed out Mar- 
garet Alvers, a pauper, at public outcry to Andrew J. Parr, he being the lowest 
bidder for the sum of thirty-nine (39) cents per week making together the sum 
of $20.28 for one year." 

In the same month, an insane pauper was farmed out at auction in Blue 
River township at one hundred dollars per year. One such record shows a 
farming out at the very low figure of eight dollars per year, this pauper evi- 
dently being almost able to earn her "keep" ; another, of a mother and child, 
at one dollar per week. 

Digitized by 



The experiment of a county poor farm was tried out at a very early 
day, with varying success. At the May session, 1835, the board concludes 
"that the county will be able to spare about two hundred dollars next March 
to make a payment on a farm and with safety may say that two hundred 
dollars a year may be paid after that without raising the rate on polls and 
property." The board therefore appoints Joseph Young, John Smiley and 
John P. Banta a committee to contract for a suitable farm of not less than 
one quarter section at a price not to exceed one thousand three hundred dol- 
lars. This committee reports in January following the purchase of the west 
half of the southeast quarter and the east half of the southwest quarter in 
section 16, in township 12 noith, range 4 east, from David McAlpin for nine 
hundred dollars. Of this, Samuel Herriott makes a donation of one hundred 

John Foster, president of the board, is appointed ^'director'* of the asylum 
and is authorized to rent the same to a tenant who will take care of and 
maintain any paupers who may become a county charge. William Burkhart 
became such tenant and so far as the record discloses took care of but one 
pauper, for which he was allowed one hundred and twelve dollars, from which 
amount sixty-five dollars was deducted as the rent of the farm due the county, 
for the year 1836. 

William C. Jones, one of the county commissioners, became superin- 
tendent in November, 1837, but the management of the county farm had been 
so costly and troublesome that in January, 1838, it was ordered sold. The 
farm was sold in May of the same year to James R. Alexander for one thou- 
sand two hundred dollars. The old system proving even more burdensome 
as the population rapidly increased, it was soon found necessary to establish 
a second county farm. 

On July 30, 1842, the commissioners purchased ninety-six acres in the 
northwest comer of section i about one mile north of Trafalgar on the 
Three Notch road, and in March of the following year entered an order re- 
quiring all owners of the poor to remove the ''regular paupers" to the county 
asylum. Samuel Hall was made superintendent, and Peter Vandiver, Sr., a 
director to look after the better discipline on the farm. 

The contract made with Mary and James Burkhart at the February term, 
1848, is fairly representative of the character of the contracts entered into 
as to this farm. They agree to take charge of the farm and keep the three 
paupers entrusted to their care for the sum of eighty-seven and one-half cents 
each, per week, the farm to be rented free. In the year following, James 

Digitized by 



Brady, superintendent, is allowed the following bill : For keeping three 
paupers regular, $34.00; for keeping Mrs. L. 13 weeks, $13.00; for building 
smoke house, $5.00; for putting up fencing, $10.00, making in all the sum of 
$62.00. This farm was sold on June 6, i860. 

In the meantime, the county had taken title to the northwest quarter of 
section 22, township 12, range 4 east, by deed from Andrew Lewis bearing 
date of March 5, 1856, at a consideration of five thousand six hundred dollars. 
In 1863, the commissioners sold one hundred ten acres off the west side of 
said quarter section to John Keaton for three thousand eight hundred and fifty 
dollars. On the 21st day of March, 1876, the county acquired title to 53.37 
acres between the Hopewell and Trafalgar roads, at a consideration of $5,070. 
The acreage of the present county farm is, therefore, 103.337 acres, represent- 
ing an investment of six thousand eight hundred and twenty dollars. 

At the March term, 1856, the commissioners let the contract to High & 
Compton to erect a poor asylum on their new farm one mile west of Franklin. 
The building was to be of brick thirty-six by seventy-two, to cost one thou- 
sand five hundred dollars. Many improvements have been added since, but 
the buildings are now unfitted for such use. According to a recent report of 
the board of state charities, the county ought to provide better means for the 
segregation of the sexes, and erect a better dormitory. 

Of the superintendents serving during the past thirty years, Capt. Will- 
iam A. Owens and David Swift served the longest. Swift served from 1889 
to 1899 at an average salary of six hundred and forty dollars, the "running 
expense*' amounting to an average of seven hundred and fifty dollars. On 
December 8, 1898, the commissioners let the contract to the lowest bidder, 
and contracted with John S. Buckner at $240.00. His report for the year 
ending March 4, 1901, shows receipts of $326.80 and exi:)enses as follows: 
Supplies, $1,669.41; employes, $586.51; repairs, $184.64; and incidentals, 
$75.65; a net charge to the county of $2,189.41 ; his last report showed net 
charge of $1,179.28. 

Jacob Levan was next appointed superintendent, serving from July 3, 
1905, to August 7, 191 1, at a salary ranging from seven hundred dollars to 
eight hundred dollars. Harvey M. Kephart followed Levan and is the pres- 
ent keei)er at a salary of eight hundred dollars, but his resignation is on file 
to take effect September i, 19 13, and Mory Verlryck is named as his suc- 
cessor at a nine hundred dollar salary. 

The total expense for county poor for the year 1912, including main- 

Digitized by 



tenance, superintendent's salary, medical attendance and repairs, was two 
thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. 


On the petition of Mrs. A. B. Colton, Mrs. George Matthews and Mrs. 
John C. Wood, the board of commissioners in 1884 took up the question of a 
county institution for orphan children. One and one-half acres of ground 
was purchased of W. D. Covert at Hopewell on August 5, 1884, for nine hun- 
dred dollars. Emmeline Bridges was appointed matron January 2, 1885, 
and was to receive thirty cents per day for each inmate. 

She was succeeded on September 12, 1889, ^Y Abby Mozingo, and the 
latter by Elizabeth Berryman on February 19, 1891. Upon her death, her 
daughter, Mollie Berryman, was chosen matron, but served only three months. 
Margaret Bergen was appointed matron, March 24, 1894, at a salary of 
forty dollars per month, and served a little more than five years. 

Miss Bergen's administration of the aflFairs of the orphans' home was 
quite successful, and her final report showing the admission and discharge of 
inmates for the five years of her term is a fair index of the w^ork done in the 
earlier years at the home. This report shows : Number present, July i, 1894^ 
eleven; number admitted since, sixty-two; discharged to school for feeble 
minded, six ; returned to parents or relatives, sixteen ; placed in homes direct, 
twenty ; placed in homes by state agent, eleven ; number now in home, twenty, 

Mrs. David B. Riggs followed Miss Bergen, and in turn was succeeded 
by Mrs. Carrie Clemmer on October i, 1900. Mrs. Mary Atwood was ap- 
pointed matron January 2, 1905, and served until September i, 191 1. Mrs. 
Clemmer and Mrs. Atwood conducted the home in a manner most praise- 
worthy. Mrs. Royal Logan, the present incuml^ent, served two years, her 
term expiring September i, 1913. The salary in recent years has been fixed 
at seven hundred dollars. The total expenses for dependent children of the 
county for 1912 amounted to two thousand four hundred eighty-four dollars 
and twenty-seven cents. 

Prior to 1885, these children were kept at the county poor asylum, a most 
unfit place for the wards of the county. In the past two or three years, the 
work of the state board in placing children in homes has been so active and 
successful that the number of inmates has l>een reduced to an average of three 
or four. Serious question is now made as to whether the county ought to 
continue the home at an expense of two thousand five hundred dollars yearly, 
when so few are kept there. 

Digitized by 



While at the home the children have attended the Hopewell schools and 
have made good records, and they have always been kindly recognized by 
the commmunity. 

At the September session, 1913, of the board of commissioners, it was 
decided to close the orphans' home, only two children being in the county's 
charge at that time. The state board of charities and corrections approve 
the step taken, and hereafter dependent children will be cared for under 
supervision of the state board. 


Very early in the history of the county the question of a county fair 
was discussed, and at the September session, 1834, the board of justices enter 
an order requiring the justices of the peace in the various townships to give 
notice **by written advertisement that a meeting of citizens of this county 
will be held at the Court House in Franklin on the first Monday in October 
next for the purpose of organizing a County Agricultural Society.'* The 
meeting was doubtless held and an organization effected, for one year later 
the board votes an appropriation of fifty dollars out of the county treasury 
to the Johnson County Agricultural Society. This statement differs some- 
what from those made by Mr. W. S. Young, hereafter referred to, but we 
find authority for them in Commissioners' Record "A," pages 416 and 445. 

William S. Young, for many years secretary of the organization con- 
ducting the county fair, is the author of the most complete history of the 
earlier fairs held in this county. In 1889 the following article by his hand 
was published in The Outlook, an advertising sheet edited by the secretary 
to "boom" the fair of that year : 


The act providing for the organization of Johnson county was passed 
by the General Assembly in session at Corydon in the month of December, 
1822, and was signed by the governor on the last day of that month. 

At that time there were but few families living within the confines of 
the county. Its territory was covered with immense forests, and much of it 
was so swampy and so dense in woodland and underbrush that in many 
places it was almost impenetrable. It is now hard for us to realize the 
physical condition of the county in those days. It seems almost like a 
dream when we look back over the hardships and toils of the pioneers in 

Digitized by 



their fierce struggle in the beginning of the opening .of the vast area of the 
now valuable farm lands of the county. 

We find as they progressed in their arduous work of clearing up the 
land and putting it in a tillable condition, the interest in agriculture and an 
interchange of sentiment gradually increasing from year to year, until they 
began to consider the propriety of coming together to exhibit the best re- 
sults obtained from the farm and garden. The first fair, of which we have 
but slight account, was held in the woods belonging to Garrett C. Bergen, 
located about what is now known as Martin Place in this city, in November, 
1838. The entrance to the groimd, which was inclosed, was from the road, 
now North Main street, a few rods south of the residence of Mrs. W. B. 
Ellis. No admission was charged and no money paid out on account of 
premiums. Our friend, James McKinney, though a small boy at that time, 
very well remembers an incident of the fair, which is characteristic of some 
exhibitions of fairs nowadays. One James Allen had on exhibition some 
very fine Merino sheep, and Jim's father, Hezekiah McKinney, being one 
of the judges, pulled from one of the sheep a tuft of wool for the purpose 
of testing its quality. This aroused Allen to some naughty words to Mc- 
Kinney, but when informed that he was one of the judges to pass on the 
sheep, Allen apologized and became exceedingly courteous to him as well as 
to the other members of the committee. It is needless to say that Allen 
carried away the red ribbon. 

We find that a "meeting of the farmers and mechanics of the county was 
held at the clerk's office in Franklin, October 15, 1851, ifor the purpose of form- 
ing a County Agricultural Society." This was the beginning of the first at- 
tempt at a permanent organization. At this meeting, on motion of Samuel Her- 
riott, George King was made chainnan, and Royal S. Hicks secretary. The 
first thing done was to resolve that it w ould be to the interest of the farmers 
and others to form an agricultural society. A committee was appointed to 
solicit members. The membership fee was fixed at one dollar, which en- 
titled the member to a vote in the election of officers. Also, that the board 
of directors should be composed of one member from each civil township 
of the county. At an adjourned meeting held November ist, the organiza- 
tion was completed by the adoption of a constitution and rules for the 
government of the society. 

The following officers were elected to serve the first year: George 
Bridges, president; William Keaton, vice-president; J. P. Banta, treasurer; 
Royal S. Hicks, secretary. 

Digitized by 



Board of directors representing each township: Melvin Wheat, Frank- 
lin; Wilham I. Pritchard, Xineveh; T. Armstrong, Sr., Blue River; Bloom- 
field Hensley, Hensley; Abram Good, Clark; George T. Noble, Pleasant; 
George \V. Bergen, Union, and William Paddock, White River. 

Under this management the first fair proper, in the county, was held 
in September, 1852, in a woods pasture, now Martin Place, and south of the 
F. F. & M. R. R., this city. 

At the annual meeting for the election of officers, held at the court 
house, November i, 1852, we find the following: William Keaton, presi- 
dent; Barthol Applegate, vice-president; Royal S. Hicks, secretary; Henry 
Fox, treasurer. 

Board of directors, representing each township : William I. Pritchard, 
Franklin; J. P. Forsyth, Nineveh; J. L. Bradley, Blue River; Conrad Mc- 
Clain, Clark; Daniel Brewer, Pleasant; Peter Voris, Union; Robert Jen- 
nings, White River, and Samuel Green, Hensley. 

The second fair was held in the same ground as the first, in September, 

1853. At this time the membership of the society numbered two hundred 
and forty-seven. This fair was well attended and the future prospects of 
the society reported as being decidedly flattering. 

It seems, too, that provision was made by the society for an annual 
address on agricultural lines at each fair, and that Prof. John S. Houghton, 
of Franklin College, was to have delivered the first, but on account of ill- 
ness, it was not made, but he was the speaker for the next year, 1853. 

The third fair was held on the 28th, 29th and 30th days^of September, 

1854, in a woods pasture immediately south of William Suckow's mill, this 
city. James L. Bradley was president and John W. Branch secretary during 
this year. S. P. Oyler delivered the annual address. "Uncle'* Jack Carter 
was gate keeper and an admission fee of twenty-five cents was charged. 
The principal attractions at this and at the former fairs were the exhibits 
of farm stock, the favorites in the horse list at this third fair being ex- 
hibited by C. B. Tarlton and Ephriam Herriott. If any vegetables, grain, 
fruits or anything in the line of "woman's work'' were exhibited we have 
been unable to get any account of them. No doubt the women could have 
made a creditable display of the "working tools" of the household of that 
time. Almost every article of wearing apparel and many of the cooking 
utensils were home made. If one could, today, see a collection consisting of 
the flax-brake, the hackle, the swingle or crutcher, the reel, the small spin- 
ner with its distaff attachment, the big spinning wheel, the old-fashioned 

Digitized by 



loom and many other kinds of machinery and devices in operation as they 
were then, together with the various kinds of articles turned out, and this 
work, nearly all done by the mothers in a log cabin home, it would be some- 
thing of a novelty to most of us. The needs of the. times wrought out in 
them truly skilled mechanics. 

In 1854 a tract of land of about sixteen acres was purchased for a per- 
manent ground for future fairs, now owned and occupied by the **defunct" 
starch works company plant, this city. The membership of the society at 
this time was about five hundred. Of this number some two hundred were 
certificate members for thirty years, they having advanced the money to 
purchase the ground and fix it up for holding the annual fairs. These certif- 
icate members were entitled to all the privileges of the fairs without further 
pecuniary aid during that time. The exhibits of the products of the soil 
were limited to the county. A race track about one-third of a mile in length 
was constructed. About this time the horse interest began to loom up and 
the track was necessary, not so much for the test of speed in trotting and 
pacing races, as for the benefit of contestants in the show ring. However, 
trotting and pacing races were a part of the week's entertainment, and the 
horse that could trot or pace a mile in three and a half to four minutes was 
considered "lightning speed," and received the plaudits of the crowds in 
attendance. The principal exhibits during those years were horses, cattle, 
sheep and hogs. The grain, vegetable and fruit exhibits and those of the 
'Tloral Hair' or woman's department were not nearly so large as now-a- 

James L. Bradley was elected president from year to year from 1854 
to and including the year 1859, and John T. Vawter served as secretary from 
1855 ^o ^^d including the year i860. John Q. Adams, now of New Albany, 
Indiana, was vice-president during the year 1859, and Harvey Satterwhite, 
treasurer. Mr. Adams also served a number of years as chief marshal of 
the society. C. B. Tarlton was elected president and Alexander Halstead 
general superintendent for the year i860. 

During all these years the fairs gradually grew in interest, in attend- 
ance and in popularity with the people of the county, and with the increased 
exhibits in all of the departments it was found at the close of one of the 
most successful of the fairs, in i860, that the ground was too small for 
future fair purposes. Steps were at once taken by the management for the 
sale of the land preparatory to the purchase of a new and more commodious 
site. A sale was concluded to D. G. Vawter, but on account of the political 

Digitized by 



excitement and the animosities between citizens, neighbors and friends grow- 
ing out of the questions, at that time, lasting up to the war between the 
North and the South, and the war coming on in all its fury and frenzy, last- 
ing for nearly six years, the mutual agricultural interests of the county sud- 
denly ceased and not even a hint of a fair society or association was again 
heard of until about the year 1867. 

We have not the space to continue further this sketch of the fair so- 
cieties of the county and leave the matter from that date for future "write 
up." But we desire to give a brief outline of how they were managed and 
judging and passing on all stock and articles of the various departments 
some of the incidental and special attractions of those years. The manner of 
judging and passing on all stocks and articles of the various departments 
entered for premiums and making the awards was invariably done by com- 
mittees of three persons, each chosen by the proper authority of the society 
from among the visitors at the fair. 

These committees, in their wisdom of the work in hand, though often 
times limited in the knowledge of their work, usually gave satisfaction. How- 
ever, in many instances, it would be charged that awards were made on ac- 
count of the standing of the exhibitor, rather than on the merit of the ani- 
mal or article exhibited. In many of these cases of apparent unfairness and 
discrimination there seems to have been good reason for a shade of truth. 
Some of them may have, through the lack of knowledge and inefficiency on 
the part of the committees, though one thing appeared certain, as is some- 
times the case nowadays, that the fellow with but little "fluence" and favor 
had to grin and bear it. The premiums offered were small and but little 
actual cash was ever paid out in this way. Articles of merchandise and es- 
pecially silverware, consisting of pitchers, cups and spoons of different 
sizes, being the principal articles used to satisfy the "lucky" exhibitors. 
Much of this ware is now in possession of families in the county and highly 
prized as souvenirs of those early times. Refreshment stands and gambling 
devices were not so numerous then as now, and but little revenue was de- 
rived from this source. About all that was sold by these stands was ginger- 
cake (in quarter sections) and stick candy, and cider and metheglin for the 
drinks. Peanuts, bananas, lemons, "hop ale," chewing gum, hoky poky and 
many other articles now seen to tempt the appetite, were in those days un- 
known in this part of the country. The favorite special attractions in those 
days appears to have been ladies' sidesaddle horseback riding, slow mule 
races, sack races, foot races, etc. We find that the special and incidental 

Digitized by 



attraction at the second fair held was a bull fight. Two of the bovines hav- 
ing eluded their owners and coming together created consternation for a 
while among the visitors, especially the women and children, driving them 
to places of safety. The contestants held the "boards,'' breaking down spice 
brush, clambering about over logs for quite a while before they were sep- 
arated and order restored. The special at the third fair held south of the 
mill, was a contest in sidesaddle horseback riding, in which "Aunt" Lydia 
Herriott took first prize, and Nancy Young second. 

Governor Joseph H. Wright delivered the annual address to the so- 
ciety during the week of the fair in 1856. Our friend, Joseph Mozingo, a 
pioneer of the county, remembers very well some parts of the address. 
Among other things the governor advised in the planting of a new orchard 
to set the first row Jennetts, the second row Jennetts, the third row Jen- 
netts and so on until as many trees as desired were set. Mr. Mozingo re- 
members this from the fact that he about that time was planting a new or- 
chard. The governor in the same address, further advised and admonished 
the people to be careful in the election of county and township officials, es- 
pecially those of county commissioners, also, send good men to the Legisla- 
ture, but that it didn't make any difference who was sent to Congress. As 
to the latter it would appear from the experience of the past, at least in this 
part of the state, the governor's thrust was not an idle one. 

The fairs of 1859 ^^^ ^860 were denominated "big fairs," from the 
fact that they were largely attended. A large exhibit in all the departments 
and while they were permitted to run to some extent on the "wide open 
policy plan," they were entertaining and popular with the people. About 
this time the competition among the speed horse men began to develop and 
the trotter and pacer, although the time with them was slow as compared 
with the records of today, were exciting and entertaining features of those 
two fairs. The contests were made under the saddle, the sulky and the 
bike not having at that time come into use. In the absence of rules strictly 
governing the contests of speed, the sporting fraternity had a clear field 
and at times considerable money exchanged hands on the "favorites." 

We had the pleasure of attending the fair of i860, and very well re- 
member some of the incidents of the week. The special attractions that year 
consisted of sidesaddle horseback riding, slow mule race, foot races, sack 
races and a wheel-barrow race. All of these in their turn were very 
amusing and entertaining. In some instances the contests were sharp and 

Digitized by 



spirited, but all good humored. The contestants in the wheelbarrow race 
were blindfolded and required to circle about with their hands to the handles 
of the vehicle, the wheel making the pivot of the circle, then in a straight 
line wheel to a stake about one hundred feet away. "Uncle'' Jack High, 
many will remember him, entered this race and at the time thought it an 
easy matter to win the prize. **Uncle" Jack, however, missed his calculation 
and instead of going to the winning stake, started off in an opposite direc- 
tion, landing down near the southwest corner of the ground. This, of 
course, created considerable merriment among the lookers on, but was not 
in the least funny for "Uncle'' Jack. 

The foot races were divided into two classes, over and under the age 
of twenty-one years. The length of the runs were around the rack track, 
being one-third of a mile. There were quite a number of entries in each class, 
the writer being one of the juniors and winning second prize; Elijah Banta, 
first. W. B. Ellis easily won first in the adult class, and Thomas M. Robin- 
son second. Richard Blakey, familiarly known about Franklin and vicinity 
in those days as Dick Blakey, a colored man, entered the adult class, but im- 
mediately a howl went up and a protest was made to the managers. "A 
council of war was called,'' and the board deliberated and very soon "sat on 
Dick,'' deciding that he belonged to the "animal kingdom" and therefore 
was ineligible to enter a race with "white folks" — and thus, on account of 
the color of his skin, Dick Blakey was barred from participating in what 
seemed at the time an innocent amusement. Dick, however, was permitted 
to go against time, without reward, and by several seconds broke all prev- 
ious foot race records. About two years later Dick entered the army in 
defense of the Union and his country, volunteering in the Twenty-eighth 
United States Colored Regiment and was made orderly sergeant of Com- 
pany A, of that regiment. During the siege in front of Petersburg, Vir- 
ginia, in July, 1864, in a charge on the enemy's works, under command of 
General Butler, at the "blowing up of the mines," Dick was taken prisoner 
and died in Libby prison, Richmond, Virginia, about three months after- 
ward;- having, as we are informed, starved to death. 

The present fair ground site was first acquired on December 10, 1867, 
by W. S. Webb, W. S. Ragsdale and W. J. Mathes, a committee represent- 
ing the stockholders, and they in turn conveyed the same on February 9, 
1869, to the Johnson County Joint Stock Agricultural Association. On 

Digitized by 



November 24, 1888, a majority of the voters of the county filed a petition 
with the county board to purchase the fair grounds under the act of March 
18, 1873. The petition was granted, and on December ist following, the 
twenty-nine-acre tract now occupied as a fair ground was purchased at a 
consideration of three thousand six hundred and twenty-five dollars, and 
the same has ever since remained county property. 

One week after the county acquired the site, the Johnson County Agri- 
cultural, Horticultural and Park Association was formed and a constitution 
and by-laws adopted. On the same day the directors met and formed an 
organization, electing William M. Province president and William S. Young 
secretary. Mr. Young continued to serve as secretary until the annual 
meeting in December, 1905. He was succeeded by Charles A. Dungan, 
who served one year. Martin Sellers was elected secretary in 1906 and 
served until February 18, 191 1, at which time O. J. Shuck, the present sec- 
retary, was elected. 

In addition to Dr. Province the following have served as president: 
S. W. Dungan, 1895-1899; William A. Bridges, 1899-1900; John Tilson, 
1900-1905; L. B. Clore, 1905-1907; J. M. Saunders, 1907-1909; I. Newt 
Brown, 1909-1910; H. E. Lochry, 1910-1912; Charles A. Brown, 19I2- 


At the May term, 1839, Cornelius Lyster, John Herriott and Lewis 
Hendricks, trustees of the Johnson county seminary fund, rejwrt the pur- 
chase of certain lands from George King for a public seminar^'. The tract 
consisted of one acre on the south side of Jeflferson street, just west of the 
Big Four railroad, later owned by Judge Woollen. The funds out of which 
the grounds were purchased had accumulated from fines for criminal of- 
fenses, but there is no record of the amount. It could not' have been large, 
as the bond of Lewis Hendricks, trustee, for the year 1839 was in the sum 
of one thousand dollars. 

A seminary building was erected late in that year or early in 1840 by 
William and John Shaffer, and school was taught in the one room which 
was finished for a short period. But it is known that by 1844 the school 
was abandoned and aside from furnishing a forum for local debates for a 
time, it became a play house for the mischievous boys of the town. The 
Legislature of 1852 required all seminary property to be sold and the 
proceeds converted into a common school fund, and the property passed 

Digitized by 



into the hands of WiUiam H. Overstreet, who remodeled the building and 
occupied it as a residence. It is best remembered by the present generation 
as Judge Woollen's homestead. 


On July 20, 1898, the board of commissioners contracted with Rans- 
dell Brothers for the erection of a two-story frame cottage at the Soldiers* 
Home at Lafayette, and was accepted by the county in November of the 
same year. 

Digitized by 




Under the Constitution of 1816 but two county offices were recognized 
as of sufficient importance to demand constitutional guaranties, viz.: the 
office of sheriff and of coroner. In the rapid development of the functions 
of other county offices, it was deemed wise to extend these guaranties, and so 
the Constitution of 1851 recognizes, in addition, the offices of clerk of the 
circuit court, auditor, recorder, treasurer, surveyor, and, in a manner, the 
board of county commissioners. The present Constitution requires that a 
man elected or appointed to a county office must be an elector of the county, 
with a residence therein of one year prior to his appointment, which residence 
in the cotmty he must maintain during his term of office. 

The other county offices, created by the act of the Legislature, may be 
abolished at its will, or their functions changed. At one time there was great 
confusion in the dates for the beginning of the terms of county officers. But 
by the act in force March 11, 1901, it was provided that the term of office 
of county auditor, county clerk, county sheriff, county recorder, prosecuting 
attorney, county assessor, county coroner, county surveyor and county com- 
missioners, in each county of the state, should begin on the first day of 
January next following the term of office of the then incumbent. 

All county officers are elected by the voters of the entire cotmty, except 
the members of the county council from the four districts, who are elected 
by districts, and excepting such as are appointed by the circuit court and 
the commissioners. Salaries are graded in proportion to population and 
character of services performed. 

Removals from office may follow conviction for malfeasance, or non- 
feasance of the duties devolving upon the officer, for intoxication during 
business hours, and any person who is in the habit of becoming intoxicated 
or who is convicted of a felony forfeits his office. No Johnson county officer 
has ever been removed from office, nor is there record of any defalcation in 
office in this county, although one treasurer resigned "under fire," who 
afterward made settlement with the county for his alleged mishandling of 
county funds. 

Digitized by 



The first examination of public accounts was made in 1853 by Gilderoy 
Hicks, G. M. Overstreet and Samuel Herriott, a committee appointed by the 
board of commissioners, covering a period of ten years prior thereto. In 
1859 Thomas W. Woollen, G. M. Overstreet and David G. Vawter were 
appointed a committee to audit the county's finances. In 1877 an investiga- 
tion of the books of the county was ordered, and Caleb B. Tarlton, H. H. 
Luyster and John S. Pettit, an "expert," were engaged to make the examina- 
tion. Their report, showing a detailed account of all county expenditures 
between the years 1863 and 1877, is found of record in Commissioners' 
Record "H," page 341 et seq. 

Since the passage of the Public Accounting law of 1899 ^'1 county 
offices have been examined by the state board of accounts. Considering the 
lack of uniformity in methods of bookkeeping and in constructions placed 
upon the law as to what fees should be charged and what fees properly be- 
longed to the officers, the result of this rigid accounting system has been 
highly creditable to Johnson county officials. Not a single officer has been 
found guilty of peculation or misappropriation of funds. The errors have 
all been due to mistakes of bookkeeping or to a failure to charge fees as 
required by law. 

The total amount collected by the state board of accounts and paid in to 
the county treasury, covering an examination of all accounts since 1903, is 
$868.82. On the other hand, it has cost Johnson county $5,877.34 to have 
these examinations of the county offices made. A somewhat extended in- 
vestigation of the working of the new law in this county confirms the follow- 
ing criticisms : The examinations ought not to be made annually, but only 
at the close of the officer's term ; and secondly, the deputy examiners ought 
to be men more familiar with public accounts than some who have been 
sent to this county. 

It is expected, however, that the new forms prescribed by the state 
board and the rules laid down by it as to the amount of fees to be charged 
and collected, may lead to more uniformity in methods of business, and 
serve as a check on reckless and careless handling of public funds. 

We give herewith a list of all county officers who have served the 
people of Johnson county, with a brief statement of their official duties, and 
some notice of facts connected with their administration. Effort is made 
to show the progress and development made by legislative sanction in the 
transaction of public business, and to give the taxpayer correct information 
as to the cost of local government. 

Digitized by 




The first authentic record of Johnson county affairs bears date of May i, 
1826. As will be seen in another chapter, county commissioners had been 
elected pursuant to the act of the Legislature in the organization of the 
county. At the August election, 1826, John S. Miller and James Ritchey 
were again elected to that office, but the records of their proceedings, if any 
were kept, has long since been lost. 

On May i, 1826, the justices of the peace of the several townships met 
at the court house in Franklin and organized as a "Board of Justices doing 
county business." There were present Archibald Glenn, president, and 
Jacob Woodruff, David Durbin, John Israel, Thomas Lowe, Patrick Cowan 
and Spencer Bamett. Their first business was to issue a tavern license to 
Thomas Carter upon "the certificate of twenty-five respectable citizens of. 
Eddinburgh and vicinity, setting forth that he is a suitable person to keep a 
publick house in the Town of Eddinburgh ; that a house of entertainment 
necessary in said place for the convenience of travelers; and that he has the 
necessary house, room, bedding, stabling, etc." 

At the same term Robert and Joseph Brackenridge are authorized to 
establish a ferry across Blue river at or near where the Madison state road 
crosses the same, and the following rates are fixed : "For each person, 6j4 
cents; each, man and horse, 12^ cents; each waggon and two horses, 25 
cents; each waggon and four horses, 50 cents/' 

The reader of the early records of the county is sometimes puzzled by 
the unfamiliar fractional coins of the times. There was very little coin in 
the west during the twenties and thirties. Silver dollars were nearly all 
Mexican dollars. The four-pence, worth six and a quarter cents, was an 
English coin, and the "bit" was a Spanish coin worth twelve and a half 
cents. According to Col. W. M. Cockrum (Pioneer History of Indiana, 
page 403), "they cut many of these dollars into quarters, and sometimes 
into eighths when the transaction called for twelve and a half cents. Then, 
as now, some who wanted to get the best of the bargain would cut the 
dollar into five pieces, thus making a quarter on each dollar cut up. This 
became so common that many county commissioners had a diagram made of 
a cut quarter when a dollar was to be cut in equal parts, and when paying 
taxes and cut money was used, it had to conform to the diagram or it was 
rejected. Storekeepers resorted to the same expedient to detect short quar- 
ters. When blacksmithing was needed, if the account amounted to a quarter 

Digitized by 



and the customer had a dollar to pay it with, they took the dollar and laid it 
on the anvil and the blacksmith, with a cold chisel, cut out a notch of one- 
fourth of the dollar for his pay. Sometimes a round bit would be furnished 
when the article w-as only six and a fourth cents and it would be cut in the 

At the May term, 1831, the county was divided into districts for the 
election of county commissioners, Franklin and Union constituting district 
number one; Blue River, Nineveh and Hesley, number two; and White 
River and Pleasant, number three. At the August election of that year 
James GiUaspy, of Nineveh, James Richey, of White River, and Thomas 
Henderson,' of Franklin, were elected to serve one, two and three year*^ 
respectively. In 1832 Gillaspy was re-elected to serve three years, and in 
1833 James Richey was re-elected for a like term. They signed their last 
record January 6, 1834. 

Pursuant to the act approved February 6, 1834, the justices of the 
peace again organized as a board to transact county business, on March 3. 

1844, and elected John Foster president. This organization continued until 
the May term, 1837, when the county was again divided into districts for 
the election of county commissioners, as follows : Number one, Blue River, 
Nineveh and Hensley; number two, Union and Franklin; number three, 
White River and Pleasant. Archibald Glenn and James Gillaspy qualify 
at the September term of that year and Wm. C. Jones at the ensuing Novem- 
ber term. The commissioners were in session two days at the September 
term, and three days at the November term, and drew a per diem of two 
dollars. Since 1837 the office has remained a three-year office, one officer's 
term expiring each year. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the remain- 
ing members of the board and the auditor. Appointments made to fill 
vacancies prior to 1853 were made by the circuit court or the judge of the 
common pleas court. 

So many changes have occurred in the office by reason of death, resig- 
nation and removal, that it is deemed best to set out in some detail the official 


James Gillaspy was elected at the August election, 1837, to serve two 
years, and was re-elected in 1839 to serve three years. James Wylie was 
elected in 1842, but died early in 1845, ^^d James Gillaspy was appointed to 
fill out his term at the March session, 1845. Gillaspy was again elected in 

1845, a^d served until his death, late in the year 1846. David Forsyth, 

Digitized by 



great-grandfather of the writer, was appointed to succeed Gillaspy at the 
December term, 1846, and was elected for a full term in 1848. Wilson 
Allen was elected in 1851, and again in 1854, but removed from the county 
in 1856, and at the June term, 1856, George Botsford was appointed to 
succeed Allen. Botsford was elected for the term of 1857 to i860, but died 
in 1858 and at the December term of that year Reason Slack was appointed 
to fill the vacancy. C. R. Ragsdale served two terms, i860 to 1866. George 
B. White was then elected for one term, but no successor being elected ir 
1868, he held over one year. Nicholas S. Branigin, grandfather of th' 
writer, was elected in 1870, but, by reason of White's holding over, served 
only two years. Warren Coleman served one term, 1872 to 1875; Ransom 
Riggs, one term, 1875 to 1878; Joseph Jenkins, two terms, 1878 to 1884; 
Ezekiel W. Morgan served from 1884 until his death, May 21, 1886. Will- 
iam A. Bridges was appointed to fill the vacancy on June 7, 1886, and served 
one term in addition. G. Nicholas Hughes served from 1890 until his 
death, July 24, 1893. Jackson Pruitt was appointed his successor August 21, 
1893, and, having been previously elected, continued to serve until 1896. 
John M. Cutsinger served from 1896 to 1899, and Francis Marion Coleman 
from 1899 t^ ^^s death, early in January, 1901. John D. Ragsdale was 
appointed to succeed Coleman on January 12, 1901, and was elected to 
serve one term thereafter. John W. Calvin took office January i, 1906, and 
served two terms. He was succeeded January i, 1912, by James H. Ken- 
nedy, the present incumbent. 


In the second district William C. Jones was elected in 1837 ^^^ served 
two years. In September, 1839, Daniel Covert qualified and served four 
. years, one of which rightfully belonged to the term of his predecessor. Peter 
Shuck served from 1843 to 1846, and was followed by Austin Jacobs, who 
served only two years. Jacobs' term was filled out by Peter Shuck, who was 
elected and qualified in August, 1848, to serve one year. Samuel Magill 
was elected in 1849, ^^^ died within a year, to be succeeded in June, 1850, 
by Melvin Wheat. Melvin Wheat was twice elected to the office thereafter, 
serving in all a little more than eight years. Milton Utter served one term, 
1858 to 1861. James M. Alexander was elected to serve two terms, but 
resigned September 6, 1865, and was succeeded by Peter Shuck, who for r) 
third time became county commissioner. Shuck filled out Alexander's term 
and was elected for one term, retiring in 1870. William J. Mathes served 

Digitized by 



one term, 1870 to 1873, ^^^ was followed by John Kerlin, Peter Demarec 
William H. Shuck and David S. Gross, each serving the regular term of 
three years. William J. Mathes was again elected for the term beginning in 
1885, but died October 9, 1886, and it being so near election time no suc- 
cessor was appointed. James H. Vandivier was elected in 1886 to fill out 
Mathes' term. Strather Herod served from 1888 to 1891 ; Henry Fisher, 
1891-1894; William M. Neal, -1894-1900; Harvey M. Kiphart, 1900-1907; 
Milford Mozingo, 1907-1913. Thomas E. Norton qualified at the January 
term, 1913. 


Service in this district has been more regular. None have died and 
only one resigned, viz. : Jacob S. Comingore, who resigned in December, 
1854. The official list for this district is as follows: Archibald Glenn, 
1837-1838; James Richey, 1838-1841; Samuel Eccles, 1841-1851; Jacob S. 
Comingore, 1851-1854; Joseph Harmon, 1854-1859; Moses Parr, 1859- 
1862; James F. Wiley, 1862-1874; John Clore, 1874-1877; Robert Jennings, 
1877-1883; George Cutsinger, 1883-1886; James Collins, 1886-1892; Otho 
W. Trugle, 1892-1898; Daniel Britton, 1898-1905; James A. Fendley, 1905- 
1908; George Wilde, 1908-1914; Harvey Harrell, 1914 . 

The duties of the commissioners' office are numerous and extensive. 
They are the most important officers in the administration of the business 
affairs of the county; they have many important judicial duties, and a lim- 
ited legislative authority. They let contracts and supervise the construction 
of all county buildings, and attend to their repair. They let all contracts for 
supplies furnished by the county, and pass on all claims to be paid by the 
county. They audit all reports and accounts of county officers and the war- 
rants of township trustees. They approve official bonds of county officers, 
and fill all vacancies in county offices. They may exempt the poor from the 
payment of poll tax, refund taxes erroneously charged or paid, and pay 
certain bounties. They appoint inspectors of elections, divide the county 
into election precincts, and may purchase voting machines. They grant 
licenses to retailers of intoxicating liquors, passing on the sufficiency of 
remonstrances thereunto, and ordering local option elections. They con- 
stitute the county board of health and appoint a secretary thereof. In all 
highway and drainage cases they have concurrent jurisdiction with the cir- 
cuit court. They now act as a board of free turnpike directors, although 
after January ist next this duty will devolve upon the county superintendent 

Digitized by 



of highways. They may afford relief to the poor, build county asylums for 
the poor and orphans. 

Under the new law for the registration of voters, they appoint the 
officers therefor. They establish the boundaries of townships and originally 
appointed most of the township officers. They grant franchises for the use 
of the highways. They only have authority to borrow money and pledge 
the credit of the county for its payment. These are only a few of the respon- 
sible duties of this office. 

The salary of the office in Johnson county is three hundred dollars. It 
has also paid three dollars per day for services as director of free turnpikes and 
ten cents per mile for each mile of free gravel road. 


Pursuant to tlje act approved March 3, 1899 (Acts of 1899, page 343), 
the board of commissioners divided the county into four councilmanic dis- 
tricts, as follows: No. i, Franklin township; No. 2, Blue River, Needham 
and Qark; No. 3, Pleasant and White River; No. 4, Union, Hensley and 
Nineveh. Under the terms of the act the first council was appointed by the 
judge of the circuit court and consisted of the following members: First 
district, David H. Miller; second district, David G. Webb; third district, J. 
Wesley Paddock; fourth district, William M. Province; at large, John A. 
Polk, John D. Whitesides, Abner Hardin. 

In September, 1900, Silas A. White was appointed to succeed Hardin, 

The purpose of the act was to create a council with authority to super- 
vise and limit the power of the board of county commissioners in borrowing 
money and fixing the rate of taxation. The members receive only a nominal 
salary, ten dollars yearly, not sufficient to pay their expenses. 

The most important meeting of the council is their annual meeting on 
the first Monday in September. In August prior thereto, each county officer 
is required to file with the auditor for the use of the council a verified esti- 
mate, properly itemized, showing the probable cost of his office for the 
ensuing year. Township assessors are also required to file a similar state- 
ment showing the amount of money needed to make the tax assessments in 
their several townships. 

In the case of each county officer he must make an estimate showing 
the cost of his office in four items, first, his own salary; second, deputy 

Digitized by 



hire, if payable out of the county treasury; third, office supplies; fourth, all 
other expenses authorized by law. 

In the same manner the judge must itemize the court expenses, showing 
separately the amounts required for bailiff hire, jury fees, witness fees, pay 
of special judges, etCi 

The board of commissioners are likewise required to file with great 
particularity an estimate of all county expenditures paid on their order. 
Briefly stated, the classifications are: i, county buildings and repairs; 2, 
bridges; 3, repair of bridges; 4, commissioners* court;. 5, county attorney; 
6, pauper attorney; 7, board of health; 8, repair of free gravel roads; 9, 
elections; 10, bonds and bond interest; 11, judgments and costs; 12, in- 
mates of state benevolent institutions; 13, publication of delinquent tax 
lists; 14, employees of county; 15, county board of review; 16, all other ex- 

These estimates are submitted to the council and, upon the basis fur- 
nished thereby, \ appropriations are made by the council and a tax levied 
sufficient to meet the appropriations. The auditor is required to keep sep- 
arate account of these appropriations, and no appropriation may be over- 
drawn. Any unexpended appropriation at the end of the year reverts to the 
general fund. 

No county officer can bind the county by any contract beyond the 
amount appropriated for a particular purpose. Nor may any warrant be 
drawn on the county treasury for any purpose not covered by a special ap- 
propriation, except for money due the state of Indiana, the school fund, the 
various tc»wnships, and for money collected by the county in construction of 
ditches and roads, or for taxes erroneously paid. 

The law is a salutary one, but its true purpose may be circumvented by 
special meetings called later in the year to make appropriations for special 
purposes when those regularly made have been exhausted. And yet emer- 
gencies may arise, such as flood damage to highways and bridges, that render 
these special meetings imperative. 

The following persons have been elected or appointed to the office 
since 1900: , 

At Large — ^John Baumgart, 1900-1906; John D. Whitesides, 1900- 
1902; William M. Province, 1900-1902 and 1910; John Calvin, 1902-1906; 
Milo A. Qore, 1902-1910; W. C. H. Coleman, 1906-1910; EH P. Hay- 
maker, 1906-1910; David H. Keay, 1910-' — ; Daniel Campbell, 1910-' — . 

Digitized by 



Fir3t District — ^Isaac N. McLaughlin, 1900-1914; Ed. Throckmprton^ 

Second District — Michael A. Roth, 1900-1906; Thomas J. Durbin, 
1906-19.10.; James L. Griffith, 1910-' — . 

Third District — ^John N. Paddock, 1900- 1902; George W. McOellan,. 
1902-1906; Thomas N. Rush, 1906-1910; William I. Luper, 1910-' — . 

Fourth District — Thomas Cravens, 1900-1902; W. C. H. Coleman, 1902- 
1906; George F. Paris, 1906-1910; James A. Foster, 1910-1912; Cecil 
Srayser, 19x2-' — . 


The county auditor is the principal financial agent of the county. Upon 
his warrant, usually drawn tmder th^ order of the board of commissioners, 
the judge of the circuit court, or pursuant to special legislative enactment, 
all money is drawn from the county treasury. From the returns pf the 
township assessor and additions thereto made by the state board of tax com- 
missionersy the coiinty board of equalization and the county assessor, he 
prepares the "tax duplicate" for the use of the treasurer. He keeps a com- 
plete record of all accounts with the treasurer, and serves as clerk to the 
commissioners' court. He loans the school funds entrusted to the county 
and enforces payment of the collection thereof by suit on the note or by sale 
of the mortgaged premises on the fourth Monday in March. In the event 
that the lands mortgaged do not sell at the annual sale for the amount due 
to the school fund, the auditor bids the same in on account of the fund, and 
after appraisal sells the same. 

He receives the enumeration of school children taken annually by the 
township trustees, reports the same to the auditor of state, and apportions 
the school revenues controlled by the county to the various school corpora- 
tions. He is ex-officio a member of the board of review to equalize assess- 
ments of property, and since the passage of the Public Depository law of 
1907 is ex-officio secretary of the county board of finance. 

In the case of a vacancy in the office of township trustee during vaca- 
tion of the county board and in case of a vacancy in the office of township 
assessor at any time, the office is filled by appointment by the auditor. He 
issues licenses to keepers of ferries, to transient merchants, to non-resident 
peddlers, to soldiers and sailors for peddling goods, to exhibitors of shows 
and circuses, and to liquor dealers licensed by the board of commissioners. 

The auditor has authority to take acknowledgments of deeds and 

Digitized by 



mortgages, and administer oaths. He receives and files applications for 
mortgage exemptions. All official bonds of township trustees and assessors 
are approved by him. 

He is elected for a term of four years, but, like the county clerk, is not 
eligible to serve more than eight years in any twelve. In our county he 
must give bond in the sum of ten thousand dollars, and receives a salary of 
two thousand, three hundred dollars. Under section 5967, Bums* R. S. 1908, 
authorizing the county council to make an allowance to the county auditor 
for the additional work imposed upon his office by the operation of the 
statute creating county councils, the auditor is now allowed six hundred 
dollars extra salary. For spreading the taxes of the city of Franklin on the 
duplicate he is paid one hundred and twenty dollars by the city. For his 
services as derk of the board of finance he receives fifty dollars. For mak- 
ing the township assessors' books he is allowed one hundred and fifty dol- 
lars out of the county treasury, and for his services as member of the board 
of review a per diem of three dollars. Under the law he also places on 
the duplicate all taxes assessed by the towns of Edinburg, Greenwood and 
Whiteland, but for this work he receives no extra compensation. The total 
cost of the auditor's office in the way of salaries and office expenses for the 
year 191 2 (excluding the per diem allowance named) was $3,946.43. 

By a special act of the Legislature, approved January 14, 1846 (Acts of 
1846, page 115), the office of county auditor in Johnson county was abol- 
ished and the duties of his office imposed upon the county clerk. By the 
new state Constitution of 1851 the office of auditor was made a constitutional 
office, and by the act of June 16, 1852, fixing the fees for all services of 
county officers, the auditor was allowed certain fees and allowances, but was 
not entitled to receive more than eight hundred dollars in any one year. 

The auditor continued to receive compensation in fees only until the 
act of 1879, when all county auditors were placed on a salary, but in addition 
were allowed to charge and retain certain special fees. In the year 1891 
(Acts 1891, page 424), the Legislature passed a fee and salary bill, provid- 
ing definite and fixed compensation for all officers of the state and county, 
and all fees collected by county officers were required to be turned into the 
county treasury. This salutary measure, cutting ofif almost wholly the 
special fees and allowances claimed and retained by county officers, has been 
supplemented by the act of 1895 (Acts 1895, P^^g^ 3^9) » 2uid the act of 1907 
(Acts 1907, page 330). 

Some amusing comments on county affairs are found in the records 

Digitized by 



kept by the county auditor. Among them, few are more entertaining than 
the reply of E. N. Woollen, auditor, to a report of a committee appointed by 
the county board to examine the accounts of his office. He prefaces a very 
full defense by the following words: "Believing that great injustice has 
been done me in the report of the 'experts* hired by your honors to investi- 
gate the county records, I respectfully ask that this, my vindication, may 
be placed upon the records of th6 board in order that the antidote may follow 
the poison.'' 

The board of commissioners sometimes neglected their duties, it would 
appear, for in 1877, W- C. Bice, then auditor, issued a call for a meeting of 
the board in which he takes occasion to recall the commissioners to a sense of 
their obligations. He says: "Whereas, as the board of commissioners of 
Johnson county, Indiana, have spent much of the time of the regular session 
in wrangling and dissension to the neglect of important business, an emer- 
gency exists for the convening of said board to complete unfinished business." 

The h'st of those who have served the county as auditor is as follows: 

Jacob Sibert 1841-1846 

Jonathan H. Williams 1851-1855 

George W. Allison 1855-1859 

Elijah Banta 1859-1863 

William H. Barnett 1863-1871 

E. Newt. Woollen 1871-1875 

William C. Bice 1875-1879 

William B. Jennings 1879-1887 

Thomas. C. M. Perry 1887-1891 

Thomas J. Coyle _- 1891-1895 

David A. Forsythe 1895-1899 

Ben P. Brown 1899-1904 

Oscar V. Nay 1904-1908 

William B. Jenning 1908-1912 

Herbert L. Knox 1912 

The office is an attractive one and conducive to longevity, as there has 
never been a vacancy in the office by resignation or death. 


Following the English form of county government, brought to us by 
way of Virginia, the county revenues were at the beginning collected by the 

Digitized by 



sheriff. (See Fiske's Civil Government in the United States, pp. 51, 63.) 
In the collection, he proceeded to the **most usual and best known place 
of residence of each person charged with state or county revenue" to make 
demand of payment, and where collections were made the same were paid 
to the county treasurer, although in this respect many of the earliest financial 
transactions of the county business were very irregular. For example, at 
the May session, 1826, of the county board of justices, accounts were struck 
with the clerk by the following entry: "Samuel Herriott now produces 
vouchers for $27.5654 for books, papers, seal, etc., together with $2.44 
allow for trouble in procuring the same ballances the thirty dollars re- 
ceived by him from John Smiley, collector of revenues.'' 

The collection must have been accompanied with many difficulties. The 
roads were mere Indian trails and paths through the forest. The tax list 
was based on specific taxes, not on valuation. But the task was lightened by 
the scarcity of taxable property. In the year 1826 John Smiley, sheriff, col- 
lected all told $335.25, for which he received a commission of $18.66^. 

Robert Gillcrees, acting under appointment of the board of county jus- 
tices, served as collector of state and county revenue for th^ year 1827, 
under a special statute to that effect. But in the years succeeding, until 
1838, the sheriffs acted as such collectors. In May, 1838, Hiram T. Craig 
was appointed by the county board the collector of state and county revenues, 
and he was succeeded in 1839 by Arthur Mulikin. The office of collector was 
abolished in 1839, and its duties conferred upon the county treasurer. 

The county treasurers of the earlier days had many difficulties In 
handling the various kinds of money then in use. Some money was good, 
other money was bad, and frequently notes of banks greatly depreciated in 
value. When William C. Jones assumed the office of treasurer in 1842 he 
received of county funds "the sum of one hundred and forty-one dollars, 
being fifteen in treasury notes of 1841 and eighty in treasury notes of 1842, 
and thirty-six dollars in Illinois paper and ten dollars Urbana paper, Ohio." 
In 1850 William Bridges, retiring treasurer, was allowed a credit of twenty- 
one dollars for "depreciated bank paper remaining in his hands." 

I apprehend that at a still earlier day, when money was not to be had, 
that taxes were paid in furs, merchandise or products of the farm, for in 
1826 the board of justices ordered the county agent "to notify those per- 
sons indebted for public property that unless the debts due the county are 
paid by the 25th of December next suit will be brought on the same, and 
that after that time nothing will be taken but specie." 

Digitized by 



Prior to 1843 the county treasurer was appointed yearly by the board 
of county justices and commissioners; in that year the office was made 
elective, the incumbent to serve thrtt years. In 1851 the office was made a 
constitutional office, and the term fixed at two years, where it has since re- 
mained. No person is eligible more than four years in any period of six. 

Since December i, 1907, under the provisions of the act creating 
depositories of public funds (Acts 1907, p. 391, and amendments thereto; 
Acts 1909, pp. 182, 324, 437; Acts 191 1, pp. 425, 616; Acts 1913, p. 279), 
the county treasurer is required to deposit all county funds and other public 
funds in banks and trust companies selected by the county board of finance, 
and keep daily balances showing the amount and character of such deposits. 
The county thus gets the benefit of interest on all its funds and the treasurer 
has now no income from interest on public funds, nor may he convert them 
to his own use for any purpose. 

The treasurer, upon receipt of the tax duplicate from the auditor, pro- 
ceeds to give notice to all persons of the several rates of taxation in the 
various townships and municipalities. ,Under our law, taxes for any year are 
collected the ensuing year; thus, taxes collected in 19 13 are based upon the 
assessments and levies made in 191 2. Taxes are payable in two install- 
ments, the first half becoming delinquent after the first Monday in May, 
and the second half after the first Monday in November. But all road taxes 
piust be paid at the first payment, at which time, if the taxpayer has "worked 
out'' his road tax under the direction of the road supervisor, he is allowed 
credit tnerefor by the treasurer. Under the recent act of 1913, however, 
the taxpayer may work out his road tax only to the amount of twenty dol- 
lars, and the excess must be paid to the treasurer in cash. 

The county treasurer must also receipt and account for all other money 
due the county, including principal and interest of school funds, fees collected 
by county officers, proceeds of sale of county bonds, fines and forfeitures, and 
many license fees. He makes settlement with the state semi-annually, on the 
first days of July and January. He also pays twice a year to the township 
trustees the revenues belongfing to the townships. He collects all taxes due 
incorporated towns, and makes semi-annual settlement with the town treas- 

Since the act of 1909, abolishing the office of city treasurer in certain 
cities of the fifth class, the treasurer of Johnson county has acted as treasurer 
of the city of Franklin, collecting all taxes and special assessments and pay- 


Digitized by 



ing out the same on warrant of the city clerk under order of the common 
council. He also serves as treasurer of the funds belonging to the Franklin 
public library. 

The treasurer is ex-officio a member of the county board of review, and 
for his services as such receives a per diem of three dollars. The city of 
Franklin pays him an annual salary of three hundred dollars as city treas- 
urer. His salary as county treasurer is one thousand nine hundred dollars, 
and he also receives six per cent, on all delinquent tax collections, which 
amount to about three hundred dollars. The total cost of the office to the 
county in 19 12 was $2,836.76. 

The following named persons have filled the office of county treasurer: 

Joseph Young 1823-1827 

John Adams 1827-1836 

Robert Gillcrees 1836-1841 

Madison Vandivier 1841-1842 

William C. Jones 1842-1844 

William F. John ^—1844-1845 

William Bridges 1845-1850 

Henry Fox 1850-1853 

William H. Jennings 1853-1856 

Jacob F. McClellan 1856-1861 

John Herriott 1861-1863 

Hascall N. Pinney 1863-1865 

William S. Ragsdale 1865-1869 

George Cutsinger 1869-1874 

John W. Ragsdale 1874-1878 

George W. Gilchrist 1878-1882 

David Swift 1882-1886 

James Jacobs 1886-1890 

Thomas E. Valentine 1890-1894 

William H. Breeding 1894-1896 

William B. Jennings 1896-1901 

William A. Bridges 1901-1905 

George W. Wyrick 1905-1909 

Thomas J. Forsyth 1909-1913 

Harry Bridges 1913- ' — 

John W. Wilson was elected to succeed George Cutsinger in 1872, but 

Digitized by 



he died March 2, 1873, before his term of office began, and Cutsinger held 
over until after the general election in 1874. 

William F. John, the first treasurer elected by the people, qualified 
September 4, 1844, and died during his term. His successor, William 
Bridges, qualified September i, 1845. See Commissioners' Record, page 
169. Bridges resigned January 7, 1850, and his successor, Henry Fox, was 
appointed on the next day. 


The clerk of the circuit court receives and files all pleadings presented 
to the court and makes a record of their entry; attends all sessions of the 
circuit court and administers oaths to witnesses ; issues all writs and processes 
under seal of the court; records all judgments and entries of the court. He 
may in vacation of court issue letters of administration upon the estates of 
deceased persons and admit wills to probate, as well as issue letters of guard- 
ianship over the estate of minors. He collects all money due the county for 
fees for services rendered by himself or the sheriff: handles all funds be- 
longing to estates for distribution; collects all judgments, and makes quar- 
terly settlement with the treasurer for fees of his office collected. 

He issues marriage licenses, hunting licenses, and many other special 
licenses. In insanity cases, he makes record of the proceedings and applica- 
tion for admission to the asylum and furnishes suitable clothing to the in- 
mate. He is ex-officio a member of the board of election commissioners, 
filing all certificates of nomination, preparing all ballots and supplies, re- 
ceives all returns, and keeps a record of the same. He is ex-officio a jury 
commissioner, in the filling of the grand and petit jury panels. He certifies 
to all transcripts and copies of records in his office. 

He is required to keep his office open at the county seat every day in 
the year (Sundays and the Fourth of July excepted), between the hours of 
nine A. M. ^nd four P. M. He must in our county furnish a bond in the sum 
of fifteen thousand dollars, to the approval of the board of commissioners. 
He is allowed a salary of two thousand, two hundred dollars', an allowance 
of two dollars per day for attendance in court, certain mileage and allow- 
ances in election cases, and since the act of 1913 is allowed to retain the fees 
charged for transcripts to be used on appeal to the circuit court. The clerk's 
salary for 191 2, including all fees and allowances, amounted to $2,836.76. 

Samuel Herriott was the first clerk of the circuit court, serving as such 
from the first organization of the county until May, 1839, when he resigned 

Dig ^le 


and the vacancy was filled by the selection of David Allen. Herriott was 
one of the first three men to engage in the mercantile business in the city of 
Franklin, locating here in 1825. He built the first jail and turned over 
the keys therefor to John Smiley, sheriff, in January, 1827. On the 9th day 
of March, 1830, he and John Herriott made a contract with a committee, 
consisting of Abraham Lowe, Thomas Henderson, Mahlon Saybold and 
George W. King, representing the board of county justices, to build a court 
house in the town of Franklin. The work on the court house was com- 
pleted and final payment was made to the contractors in May, 1833. I^ ^^^ 
without doubt the largest public contract carried out up to that time, as the 
pa)rments made to the contractors indicate a contract price of about one 
thousand dollars. 

According to Judge Banta the new county-seat town received its name 
of Franklin at the sugggestion of Herriott, who had by reading a biography 
of Dr. Benjamin Franklin become a sincere admirer of the greatest civilian 
of colonial history. Samuel Herriott and Joseph Young, partners in the 
mercantile business, erected the first frame building in Franklin tow^nship, a 
store room on the northwest corner of the public square. He was a Whig 
in politics and the leader of his faction. He was also a leader in financial 
aflFajrs, being the organizer and president of the Franklin Insurance Com- 
pany. And when the insurance company, in 1856, took the form of a bank- 
ing organization, he became the first president of the Indiana Farmers' 
Bank at Franklin. He died in Franklin on May i, 1863, at the age of 
seventy-two years. 

David Allen, the second clerk of the circuit court, serving from 1839 ^^ 
1844, was also sheriff of the county from 1845 to 1847. During the latter 
part of his term as sheriff, he organized a company of soldiers for service in 
the Mexican war and was made captain. He died of illness during his service 
in the war, in the early part of the year 1847. His name is given by Judge 
Banta and others as clerk during the year 1847, but Order Book 4, at page 
86, of the records of the circuit court, shows that Isaac Jones died in May, 
1847, during his term as cierk and that on the 29th day of May, 1847, Royal 
S. Hicks was appointed clerk pro tern, to serve until the August election, at 
which time Jacob Sibert was elected to the office. 

Of those who filled the of!ice in later years perhaps none was better 
known than William H. Bamett. Born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, on 
October 10, 1820, he came with his father, Thomas, to Johnson county in 
October, 1822. He came to Franklin at the age of thirty-two and became 

Digitized by 



deputy clerk under Jacob Sibert. From 1855 ^^ 1863 he was clerk and for 
the next eight years was auditor. He served one year in the Legislature, 
beginning in January, 1881. In 1886 he was elected recorder and served one 

One of the interesting episodes connected with the clerk's' office grew 
out of the election of Isaac M. Thompson in the year 1870. Mr. Thompson 
was the candidate on the Republican ticket, his opponent being Capt. W. A. 
Owens. Mr. Thompson, according to the board of canvassers, received 
a plurality of one hundred and fifty votes in the county. Mr. Owens con- 
tested the election, and the cause was tried before the Hon. Samuel H. Bus- 
kirk, a judge of the supreme court of Indiana, who handed down a long 
opinion with his findings in the cause. A part of this finding we set out to 
show how irregular was the method of voting then in vogue. After setting 
forth the agreement of the parties to limit the evidence to be considered to 
that concerning the election in Blue River township, the court proceeds : "8. 
That the election board in Blue River township was composed of the fol- 
lowing persons, namely : Isaac M. Thompson was the trustee of said town- 
ship and by virtue of said office he acted as inspector of said election. James 
Ward and Adolf Dambert acted as judges, John Ward and William Strawn 
acted as clerks. James and John Ward belonged to and acted and voted with 
the Democratic party, Adolf Dambert and William Strawn belonged to and 
acted and voted with the Republican party. James and John Ward were 
opposed to the nomination of William A. Owens as the Democratic candi- 
date for clerk, but recognizing their obligation to vote for the nominee of 
their party, they voted for Mr. Owens, but they secretly and at heart desired 
the election of Mr. Thompson, who was their personal friend but political 
opponent. But the evidence does not satisfy my mind that Mr. Thompson 
knew of their secret wishes when he selected them to act as judge and clerk 
of said election. The said James and John Ward had acted in the same 
capacity in the said township for many years prior to said election and on all 
of said occasions had been selected by and represented the Democratic 
party. * * * 

"That between 11 and 12 o'clock on the day of the election the members 
of the board at different times went to their homes and got their dinner. 
James Ward, Mr. Dambert and Mr. Strawn first went to dinner. They left 
Mr. Thompson and John Ward. When they returned Mr. Thompson and 
John Ward went to dinner. These different parties were absent from twenty 
to thirty minutes. The polls were kept open and votes were received during 

Digitized by 



the time when portions of the board were absent. When the three members 
were absent Mr. Thompson received the votes and Mr. John Ward kept 
both tally papers; while Messrs. Thompson and John Ward were absent, 
Mr. James Ward received the votes and Mr. Strawn kept both tally papers. 
There were about forty-seven votes received during the times when portions 
of the board were absent. There was no evidence tending to show that any 
illegal votes were received or that any legal votes were excluded during the 
time when portions of the board were absent or that the ballot box was in 
any manner interrupted with. 

"That after the polls were closed the ballot box was unlocked and 
opened and about twenty-five ballots were counted when the members of 
the election board separated and went to supper. Mr. Dambert took with 
him the ballots that had been counted and placed on the string. Mr. Thomp- 
son locked the ballot box and put the key in his pocket. Mr. James Ward 
took the ballot box under his arm and went home with Mr. Thompson for 
supper. When they arrived at home at the residence of Mr. Thompson they 
went into the family sitting room, where sat Miss Keifer, of Indianapolis, who 
was visiting Mr. Thompson. Mr. Ward placed the ballot box on the bureau 
in the sitting room and then took a seat and engaged in conversation with 
Miss Keifer. Mr. Thompson immediately went into the kitchen. In a 
short time he passed through the sitting room and went out and obtained a 
beefsteak. On his return he passed through the sitting room without stop- 
ping and went to kitchen ; from there he went to his stable ; during the time 
Mr. Thompson was absent Mr. Ward and Miss Keifer remained all the 
time in the sitting room and were so seated that the ballot box was all the 
time in their view. When Mr. Thompson announced that supper was ready 
Mr. Ward and Miss Keifer went into the adjoining room, leaving the ballot 
box on the bureau, and the door between the two rooms was left open. Just 
as the party were sitting down at table, Mr. Thompson remarked that the 
ballot box had been left in the sitting room and stepped to the door and 
reaching into the room took the ballot box and placed it in a safe in the 
room where they were eating their supper, and it remained there until they 
were done eating, when Mr. Ward took the box under his arm and in com- 
pany with Mr. Thompson returned to the place of holding the election and 
passed through the business part of town after being absent from thirty to 
forty minutes. From the above facts I am satisfied that the ballot box was 
not opened or in any manner interrupted with during the time it was absent 
from the place of voting. 

Digitized by 



"The election was held in a room fronting on one of the principal streets 
of the town of Edinburg. The room was fifteen by fifteen. There was an 
open glass front, which was not closed by shutters. A pane of glass was 
taken out, through which the tickets were received. The ballot box was 
placed on a stool about two or three feet from the window. During the 
night the room was lighted by two oil lamps that gave a very imperfect 
light and during the latter part of the night the light was very dim. During 
the latter part of the night Mr. Strawn was sick and during a part of the 
time Mr. John Ward had to keep up the entries on both tally sheets. Several 
times during the counting of the ballots it was ascertained that the tally 
sheets did not agree. When this was discovered the counting was stopped 
and Mr. Strawn's tally sheet was corrected by Mr. Ward's tally sheet. 

"That when the counting was completed and the returns made out, the 
tickets and papers that did not have to be returned to the board of can- 
vassers at the county seat were placed in the ballot box and, that being 
locked, was delivered to Mr. Dambert, who took it to his house, where it re- 
mained until the next morning, when he took it to Mr. Thompson's house 
and left it with him. The ballot, box was retained by Mr. Thompson until 
the Monday succeeding the election, when it was sealed in the presence of the 
judge of said election, the contents had been looked at, but no careful ex- 
amination having been made thereof, before the sealing. 

"That the tally papers of the election in Blue River township shows 
that Mr. Thompson received in the said township 383 votes and that Mr. 
Owens received 95 votes. The ballot box was produced in open court. It 
was admitted in open court that the box produced was the one used at said 
election in said township and that it was in the same condition that it was 
when produced before the board of canvassers, and the evidence showed that 
when produced before the board of canvassers it was in the same condition 
that it was when sealed up on the Monday succeeding the election. The 
tickets found in the box were taken out and counted in open court, and under 
the direction of the court the following facts were ascertained : There were 
315 ballots that had the name printed or written the name of Isaac M. 
Thompson; there were 35 ballots that had the name thereon *I. M. Thomp- 
son,' which were counted Isaac M. Thompson; there were 10 ballots that 
had the name William A. Owens printed thereon; a pencil mark had been 
drawn across the name of Mr. Owens in such a manner as to mark the 
erasure plain and distinct and there was no uniformity in making the eras- 
ures. The name or word 'Thompson' in different hand writings and 

Digitized by 



variously spelled were written with pencil. These ten ballots were counted 
for Isaac M. Thompson. There w^as one ballot without any number on it 
with the name of Isaac M. Thompson printed thereon, and was properly 
counted to contestee; counting all these ballots for Mr. Thompson, they 
only make 351, being 32 less than the number counted for him as shown by 
tally papers and returns of election board and certificates of the board of 

"There were in the ballot box 96 ballots that had the name 'William A. 
Owens' on them ; there were 2 ballots that had the name 'Owens' ; there were 
5 ballots that had the name 'A. A. Owens' on them ; there was i ballot that 
had on it the name 'Wm. Owens' ; there were 23 ballots that had the name 
'William A. Owens' printed on them. Across the name of Mr. Owens on 
these 23 ballots, a small and delicate mark was drawn with a pencil. The 
marking seems to have been done by the same person. There is great uni- 
formity in all the marks. The marks are not made in a careless and hurried 
manner, but were made with deliberation and precision. The marks seem to 
have been made with the deliberate purpose of having the legal effect of de- 
stroying the ballots as votes for Mr. Owens, and that the marks should not 
be so obvious to the voters that they could readily see it, but that it would 
escape their attention and cause them to vote under the honest belief that they 
were casting their votes for Mr. Owens who was their choice. The ex- 
amination that I have made of these marks in daylight and by gas and with 
different shades and reflections of light, the evidence of experts examined on 
this trial and experiments that have been made by others in my presence have 
satisfied me that these marks were made on these tickets before they were 
placed in the ballot box and that the voters who deposited them in the ballot 
box intended to and believed that they were voting for Mr. Owens and that 
they did not discover the marks, and therefore they honestly and in perfectly 
good faith and with the highest regards for truth testified that the name of 
Mr. Owens was not marked on the ballots they had deposited. That if the 
5, the I, the 2, and the 23 ballots hereuntofore referred to are added to the 
96 ballots found in the ballot box for Mr. Owens it would make his vote in 
Blue River township 127, which deducted from the ballots found in the box 
for Mr. Thompson would leave a majority for the contestee in said township 
of 225 votes instead of 288 as certified by the election board. 

"That while the persons composing the election board in Blue River 
township were guilty of irregularities in receiving votes when a part of the 
members thereof were absent, in separating at supper time, in taking the 

Digitized by 



ballot box away from the place of holding the election before the ballots 
were all counted, in assorting the ballots and counting by fives instead of 
counting them one by one as taken from the ballot box, in leaving the ballot 
box containing the ballots and other papers unsealed until the Monday suc- 
ceeding the election, and in counting for Mr. Thompson more votes than 
there were ballots in the ballot box, there is no evidence from which I can 
find that these things were done fraudulently or corruptly.'' 

"That there is no evidence in this cause that will justify me in finding 
that any member of the election board in the said township of Blue River 
was guilty of fraudulent or corrupt conduct or in any manner tampered with 
the ballot box or the ballots by scratching any ballots or by taking out legal 
ballots and putting in illegal or fraudulent ballots, nor that the contestee was 
a party to or had any knowledge of the fraud that was practiced on the voters 
by marking the name of Mr. Owens in such a manner as to escape observa- 

"Upon the foregoing facts, I find for the defendant.'* 

Not a few lawyers got their training in the legal profession in service 
as deputy clerks. Fabius M. Finch, one of the early leaders at the bar and 
twice honored with a place on the bench, was a deputy under Samuel Her- 
riott. Royal S. Hicks and Charles Byfield were admitted to the bar but did 
not engage in the practice of the law. Edward F. White began his training 
for the profession as deputy under Samuel Harris and David Fitzgibbon, and 
was followed in office by Thomas Williams, deputy for three years under 
the last named clerk. 

Of other deputies in the office whose services to the county deserve 
mention are Ferd E. McClellan, deputy under Byfield and Daulton Wilson; 
Dollie Van Vleet Burgett, who paved the way for woman's work in the court 
house, during her brother's term as clerk; and Edna Flannagan, who has 
served in a like capacity under Joseph A. Schmith and the present clerk. 

The complete official register of the clerk's office is as follows : 

Samuel Herriott 1823-1839 

David Allen _• 1839-1844 

Isaac Jones 1 1844-1847 

Royal S. Hicks .1847-1850 

Jacob Sibert 1850-1855 

William H. Barnett 1855-1863 

John W. Wilson . 1863-1871 

Isaac M. Thompson 1871-1879 . 

Digitized by 



Thomas Hardin 1879-1883 

Samuel Harris 1883-1887 

David Fitzgibbon 1887-1891 

Charles Byfield 1891-1899 

Daulton Wilson 1899-1903 

Gilbert B. Van Vleet 1903-1907 

Joseph A. Schmith 1907-1911 

James T. Gilmore 1911- 


Rawles, in his "Government of the People of the State of Indiana," thus 
defines the duty of this office: "The sheriff is elected for a term of two 
years, and no person is eligible more than four years in a period of six. The 
office of sheriff had its origin in England many centuries ago, when that 
country was divided into shires. The reeve was an official of great im- 
portance who called the people together in the shire-moot or meeting, presided 
over its sessions and executed its decrees ; whence came the name shire-reeve, 
or sheriff. The office has been shorn of many of its duties and much of its 
dignity; but it is yet the chief executive office of the county and of the 
courts." The sheriff is a conservator of the peace. It is his duty to arrest 
with or without a warrant persons committing crime or misdemeanor within 
his view; and to suppress all breaches of the peace within his knowledge — 
having authority to call to his aid the posse comitatus, or the power of the 
county. If this force be not sufficient, he may call upon the governor of the 
state. If the militia of the state can not put down the disorder, the governor 
may call upon the President of the United States, whose duty it is to employ 
the national forces to suppress insurrection. The sheriff is also required to 
pursue and commit to jails all felons, and for this purpose he may go into 
any county in the state. He is charged with the keeping of the jail and the 
care of prisoners, and must protect them from mob violence. He attends and 
preserves order in the circuit, criminal and superior courts, either in person 
or by deputy, and executes -all decrees ; he transfers all prisoners under death 
sentence to the state's pris6n for execution. He acts as deputy to the sheriff 
of the supreme court. He performs certain duties in relation to elections." 

It may be added that he also attends upon and serves the board of com- 
missioners' court as he does the circuit court; he attends the sessions of the 
county council and executes its orders ; he serves all processes issued on order 

Digitized by 



of the county board of review. As the clerk is the voice of the court, 
speaking its will, so is the sheriff the arm of the court, enforcing its orders 
and carrying out its decrees. 

When there is neither sheriff nor coroner to attend upon the circuit 
court, an elisor may be appointed to serve during the pendency of the matter 
in which the regular officer is incapacitated. Prior to 1889, it was the duty 
of the sheriff to hang the man upon whom the death penalty was inflicted, but 
no legal hanging ever took place within the borders of the county. 

The only mob violence ever recorded in the county grew out of the 
murder of John Lyons, an old citizen of Pleasant township, in the late sixties. 
Lyons had sold two cows at the stock yards in Indianapolis for seventy dol- 
lars, and two men by the name of Hatchell and Patterson, who saw him 
pocket the money, followed him to his home in this county and, breaking in 
the door with a rail, robbed and slew their victim in the presence of Jiis aged 
wife. Capt. William A. Owens, then sheriff, took up the clews at hand and 
finding the men, who were frequenters of saloons near the stockyards, engaged 
in reckless spending of their foully gotten money, arrested them and brought 
them to the old jail on the southwest corner of the court house square. On 
the way, Hatchell confessed the crime and, his story spreading, the community 
took fire. Hastily organizing, a mob of one hundred rode down to the 
town on horseback, sending a committee ahead to demand the key to the lock- 
up of the sheriff. 

At that time, there were three prisoners in the jail, Hatchell and Patter- 
son, and Peter Dittman, who was charged with the killing of a wornan at 
Edinburg, The lock-up consisted of two cells, one on the first floor for men 
and the other on the second floor for women. The door to the cell was 
secured by an immense lock, twelve by sixteen inches, with a key a foot long. 
About the court house yard was a tight board fence about four feet high and 
just outside of that stood a row of posts, with a chain loosely attached thereto 
serving as a hitch rack. 

As soon as Owens learned of the purpose of the mob, he hastened to the 
court house and hid the key to the cell in his office safe. Then sending his 
son to arouse the town, he went back to the jail, where he was seized and 
bound by the mob, who had followed closely upon their committee. After 
searching the premises for the key and failing to get any information from 
Owens, the mob sent men to Turner's blacksmith shop, just south of the 
square, who soon returned with sledge hammers. 

In the meantime, several citizens including G. M. Overstreet, Samuel P. 

Digitized by 



Oyler, T. W. Woollen, all prominent attorneys, had responded to Owen's call, 
and attempted to dissuade the mob from their violence. But the lawyers' 
speeches were very impatiently listened to and soon rudely interrupted by the 
blows of the sledge hammers on the cell lock. It was the work of but a few 
minutes to reach the prisoners. Hatchell and Dittman were seized and 
hurried away on horseback. The mob had proceeded only a square north on 
Main street when they were persuaded by the violent protests of Dittman 
of their mistake. One half of their number went back to the jail with EHtt- 
man, who was identified by the sheriff, and him they left as they secured 
Patterson, who had been cowering in a corner of his cell. 

Patterson was brought out to be placed on horseback, but as he was 
helped up he leaped over the horse, scaled the west fence, but fell headlong 
over the hitch chain. This fall enabled the mob to press him closely and they 
at last brought him to the ground in the alley west of Ditmar's store, with a 
bullet, in his thigh. The mob then reformed, and proceeded north on the 
state road to Lysander Adams' woods, just north of the present corporation 
line. There to the wide spreading limb of a beech tree, the victims were 
hung. The horses on which the men rode were led under the limb, the ropes 
passed over the limb, tied about the body of the tree, and the horses led from 
under the dangling bodies. The mob made sure of its work, and waited until 
all signs of life were extinct. The bodies were then lowered to the ground 
and a rail fence built around them, where they lay until a late hour the next 

No real attempt was made to investigate this violent deed. Too many 
prominent men of the north part of the county were involved. And while 
Dittman was brought back from the penitentiary as a witness before the 
grand jury, he was of course unable to identify any member of the mob and 
while the grand jury returned indictments against six or seven men, supposed 
to be most deeeply involved, upon a trial of the cause in the circuit court, a ver- 
dict of not guilty, in the first case tried, was returned, and the inquiry was 
abandoned. But to many yet living the memory of that night is a sad and 
terrible one. 

Under the common law practice, prior to the adoption of the new state 
constitution in 185 1 the sheriff was called upon frequently to make "arrests" 
in civil actions. The first action tried before the circuit court of Johnson 
county was "an action on the case," in which the plaintiffs allege that the 
defendant, William Hunt, by his promissory note in writing, promised to pay 
to plaintiffs the sum of seventy-seven dollars, but that "said defendant not 

Digitized by 



regarding his said promise and undertaking so by him made in this behalf as 
aforesaid, but contriving and fraudulently intending craftily and subtilely to 
deceive and defraud the said plaintiff, hath not as yet paid the said sum of 
money." Pursuant to this action, "a writ of capias ad respondendum issued 
out of the clerk's office directed to the sheriff of the county of Johnson re- 
turnable to the first day of the term on the back of which w-rit was an endorse- 
ment requiring bail/' The sheriff duly executed the writ by an arrest of the 
defendant, but upon giving special bail, he was released pending the action. 
On the trial of the case, defendant failed to appear, and judgment was 
entered on default. 'Then comes William W. Robison, special bail for the 
said William Hunt, and surrenders the body of the said William Hunt in 
discharge of his recognizance of special bail, and upon prayer of the said 
plaintiff it is ordered that the said William Hunt be committed to and con- 
tinue in the capacity of the sheriff until discharged by the payment of the 
judgment or otherwise." 

Eveiy person imprisoned in a civil action was allowed the privilege of 
"prison bounds,'* which were fixed by statute as the limits of the county. H 
a man committed to jail on civil process made affidavit that he was unable to 
support himself, the party on whose suit he was confined must pay his board 
in jail, or the sheriff might discharge him, as the county paid only for "diet- 
ing'' the prisoners in criminal action. I observe that by the Revised Statutes 
of 1843 ^he sheriff wasj as now, required to keep the jail, but our records 
show accounts with Tobias Woods, "Jailor," as late as 1845. 

According to Judge Banta (Historical Sketch of Johnson County, page 
106), "great confusion seems to have existed from 1844 to 185 1 in the 
sheriff's office. He gives the list as follows: Isaac Jones, 1839-1841 ; un- 
known, 1841-1842; Austin Jacobs, 1842-1844; Samuel Hall, John Jackson, 
Wm. C. Jones, 1844; David Allen, 1844-1845; Robert Johnson, Nixon 
Hughes, Wm. Bridges, 1847; Wm. H. Jennings, 1847-1851. 

The records of the commissioners' court show that Isaac Jones served 
not only in the years above given, but also in 1841, 1842 and until 
after the August election in 1843 (See Com. Rec. "B," pp. 400, 416). Austin 
Jacobs filled the office until after the June term, 1844. The records at the 
September term, 1844, recite : "It appearing that there is no acting sheriff at 
this time, Wylie Jones is appointed sheriff pro tem for the present session of 
the board." At the ensuing December term, William C. Jones is allowed for 
services as sheriff, but there is no record of his appointment. At the March 
term, 1845, Samuel Hall, sheriff, is allowed twenty-three dollars thirty-three 

Digitized by 



and one-third cents for his services extra as sheriff for the four months end- 
ing the first Monday in March, 1845. ^^^tU continues to serve as sheriff at 
the June term, 1845, and until September i, 1845 (see Commissioners' Rec- 
ord "B'', p. 179). 

David Allen was elected at the August election, 1845. Robert Johnson 
was elected at the August election, 1847, ^^^ continued to serve until Aug- 
ust 23, 1849. I fij^d no authority for the statement that John Jackson, Nixon 
Hughes, or William Bridges served as sheriff at any time during the forties, 
under any election or regular appointment. 

The following list of those who have served as sheriff, I believe to be 
correct: John Smiley, 1823-1827; Joab Woodruff, 1827-1831; John S. 
Thompson, 1831-1835; David Allen, 1835-1839; Isaac Jones, 1839-1843; 
Austin Jacobs, 1843- 1844; Wylie Jones (pro tem), 1844; Samuel Hall, 1844- 
1845; David Allen, 1845-1847; Robert Johnson, 1847-1849; William H. 
Jennings, 1849-1853; H. L. McClellan, 1853-1857; Noah Perry, 1857-1859; 
Eli Butler, 1859-1863; John W. Higgins, 1863-1867; William A. Owens, 
1867-1871; Robert Gillaspy, 1871-1875; James H. Pudney, 1875-1879; Wil- 
liam Neal, 1879-1883; George C Stuart, 1883-1887; Jacob Hazelett, 1887- 
1889; Preston Maiden, 1889-1890; James Curry, 1890; Jas. K. P. Mussel- 
man, 1890-1894; John C. Weddle, 1894-1898; James G. Brown, 1898-1903; 
James W. Baldwin, 1903-1907; Hal F. Musselman, 1907-1911; Ozais E. 
Vandivier, 191 1. 


In the recorder's office are found records of deeds of conveyance of land ; 
leases for a longer term than three years; mortgages of real and personal 
property and releases thereof; notices of mechanics' liens; deeds of assign- 
ment in cases of insolvency; articles of association and certificates of incor- 
poration; ditch and highway assessments; plats of all additions to cities and 
towns; articles of apprenticeship and descriptions of ear marks and brands, 
although these last named have not been found of record within many years 

Conveyances of land are recorded in "Deed Records"; mortgages and 
liens of a like character in "Mortgage Records'* ; city and town plats in "Plat 
Records" ; the other records in "Miscellaneous Records" ; and all are indexed 
in alphabetical order, so that it is easy for any one to find a needed record. 
For many years, persons were allowed forty-five days in which to file for 
record all deeds, mortgages and leases. But the new law (Acts 1913, p. 233) 
is of so much importance that it is herewith given in full : 

Digitized by 



"Every conveyance or mortgage of lands or of any interest therein and 
every lease for more than three years shall be recorded in the recorder's office 
of the county where such lands shall be situated ; and every conveyance, mort- 
gage or lease shall take priority according to the time of the filing thereof; 
and such conveyance, mortgage or lease shall be fraudulent and void as against 
any subsequent purchaser, lessee or mortgagee in good faith and for a valu- 
able consideration, having his deed, mortgage or lease first recorded ; the same 
to be in effect on and after January i, 1914." 

The first deed record was delivered at the recorder's office on August 14, 

The first deed of record bears date of August 7, 1822, and was executed 
by Abraham Lee, of Franklin county, Indiana, to Margaret Hunt, of the same 
place. It was not recorded in this county until September 3, 1824. The 
lands are described as the west half of the northwest quarter of section 34, 
township II north, of range 5 east, in the District of Brookville — referring 
to the land office opened at Brookville, Indiana, in 1820, for entry of lands 
in the New Purchase. The first deed executed in Johnson county bears date 
of August 14, 1823, and conveyed lands in "Nineve" township. 

The first mortgage of record was a chattel mortgage executed by Rich- 
ard Ship to his brother, John Ship, and bearing date August 7, 1824. The 
record is an interesting commentary on the life and letters of the time. 
Among the securities offered are the following : "One large bible ; Bigland's 
View of the World, five volumes; Buck's Theological Dicksanary, two vol- 
umes; Davises sermons, three volumes; Gills explanation on the scripture, 
three volumes; Fuller's works, four volumes; Fletchers works, six volumes; 
Butterworth's concordence; three volumes of Buck's works; three arith- 
matecks; Scott's essays; one volume Tatler's works; four volumes Walker's 
Dicksanary ; Edwards on the will, one volume ; Dick on Inspiration ; Weather- 
spoon on election, one volume; Souen's Sermons, one volume; Harvey's 
Meditations, one volume; Parens Greek Lexicon; twenty volumes of greek 
and Latin ; twenty volumes of other books." 

William Shaffer, the first recorder, was a carpenter or house-joiner, and 
not very adept in the use of the pen. Many of his records were penned by a 
deputy. No record is found to show how he secured his election or appoint- 
ment in 1823. The first election returns now extant and showing his election 
are those for the August election of 1829. 

J. R. Qemmer, one of the most popular young men of the county, dur* 
ing his second term as recorder, left the town of Franklin on the 22nd day 

Digitized by 



of October, 1884, and was never thereafter heard from. His mysterious 
disappearance was the sensation of the time, and his friends have always 
believed that murder lay behind the mystery. His brother, George W. Clem- 
mer, performed the duties of the office until June 9„ 1885, when James T. 
Trout, an appointee of the county board, took up the duties of the office. 

The salary of the office now is one thousand four hundred dollars. 
Where he collects fees in excess of the amount of his salary, he is allowed 
to retain thirty per cent, of the excess as additional compensation. The total 
cost of the office to the people of the county for the year 1912 was one thou- 
sand» five hundred seventy-seven dollars and thirty-four cents. The official 
list follows: William Shaffer, 1823- 1836; Pierson Murphy, 1836- 1843; 
Thomas Alexander, 1843-1844; Jacob Peggs, 1844-1859; William S. Rags- 
dale, 1859-1863; Willett Tyler, 1863-1867; Jacob Peggs, 1867-1875; George 
W. Demaree, 1875- 1879; Jefferson R. Clemmer, 1879- 1885; James T. Trout, 
1885-1887; William H. Bamett, 1 887-1 891 ; George W. Clemmer, 1891- 
1895; J^'^^ Bt% 1895-1899; Silas W. Trout, 1899-1903; Lewis T. Deer, 
1903-1907; William M. Burgett, 1907-1911 ; Chauncey J. Powell, 191 1. 


Only two county officers were required to be elected under the constitu- 
tion of 1816 — ^the sheriff and coroner. The office is one of great antiquity. 
Originally the coroner or crowner was appointed by the King and was the 
special representative of the King in the county. They held courts of inquiry 
over unusual calamities like wrecks, fires and sudden deaths to fix responsi- 
bility if possible. In the course of time, the office became elective and the 
duties confined to investigation of deaths under any mysterious or suspicious 

The coroner in such case holds an inquest w^ith the aid of a jury of 
twelve, witnesses are heard, sometimes autopsies made, and if the facts are 
sufficient to indicate murder and to implicate the guilty, he may order arrest. 
Many think that the office has lost its usefulness, other agencies better adapted 
to the investigation of crime now being at hand. 

The coroner receives only certain fees, the total cost of the office for 
1912 being three hundred sixty-two dollars and forty cents. 

Curtis Pritchard was the first coroner, elected in 1823. In 1827, Jeffer- 
son D. Jones succeeded him. Below- is a list of those who have served 
since 1859: Henry Whitesides, 1859-1863; Lemuel Tilson, 1863-1868; Will- 
iam H. Jennings, 1868-1869; Hume Sturgeon, 1869-1872; J. Henry Fuller, 

Digitized by 



1872-1873: William S. Ragsdale, 1873-1874; John D. Van Nuys, 1874- 1875; 
William S. Ragsdale, 1875-1876; Hume Sturgeon, 1876-1878; John F. Mc- 
Clellan, 1878-1882; Howard Thompson, 1882-1885; John F. McClellan, 
1885-1886; James T. Jones, 1886-1890; L. L. Whitesides, 1890*1893; James 
T. Jones, 1893-1898; Rufus W. Terhune, 1898-1907; Daniel W. Sheek, 1907. 


In the pioneer days of Kentucky, the settler selected a tract of land to 
his liking, and had a rude survey made, marking the limits of his land by 
blazing trees. So difficult was it to identify a survey thus rriade that several 
patents would often be issued for the same body of land, and much needless 
litigation arose between the contending claimants. In the settlement of the 
Northwest territory, this confusion of entries was avoided by the system of 
survey suggested by Thomas Jefferson. The Jeffersonian survey, authorized 
by the land ordinance of Congress in 1785, called for the location of lines 
running north and south to be known as "meridian lines," and of lines run- 
ning east and west to be known as "base lines.'' The first principal meridian 
is the dividing line between Ohio and Indiana. The second principal meridian 
is a line running due north from the mouth of Little Blue river, eighty-nine 
miles west of the eastern line of Indiana. On each side of the principal 
meridian, there are marked out subordinate meridians, called range lines, six 
miles apart, and numbered east and west from their meridian. The west line 
of Johnson county is parallel with and twelve miles east of the second prin- 
cipal meridian. 

This meridian line is intersected at right angles by a line running east 
and west called a base line. The only base line running through the state of 
Indiana crosses it from east to west in latitude thirty-eight degrees thirty 
minutes, leaving the Ohio river about twenty-five miles above Louisville, and 
striking the Wabash four miles above the mouth of White river, and inter- 
secting the second principal meridian at a point six miles south of Paoli, in 
Orange county. The south line of Johnson county is parallel with and sixty 
miles north of the base line. On each side of this base line are drawn sub- 
ordinate parallels called township lines, six miles apart, and numbered north 
and south from the base line. 

By these range lines running north and south and the township lines 
running cast and west, the whole state is divided into congressional town- 
ships, each six miles square. For illustration, Hensley township, in Johnson 


Digitized by 



county, is in the southwest corner of the county, and is six miles square; it is 
therefore in range 3 east and in township 1 1 north ; Union township, which 
lies immediately north of Hensley and is also six miles square, lies all in range 

3 east, and in township 12 north; while Nineveh township, lying just east of 
Hensley and being six miles square, lies all in township 1 1 north and in range 

4 east. 

Each congressional township, therefore, being six miles square, con- 
tains thirty-six square miles of territory, each square mile being called a 
section, and bearing its proper number. Section number i is always found 
in the northeast corner of the township, thence numbering west to section 6 
in the northwest corner of the township ; section 7 is found immediately south 
of section 6, and the numbering proceeds thence east to section 12, lying 
directly south of section i ; and so the numbering proceeds to section 36 in the 
southeast corner of the township. 

For further convenience, each section is further divided into quarter 
sections, each containing one hundred and sixty acres, and named northeast, 
northwest, southwest and southeast, according to their location. The quarter 
section is further subdivided into halves, each containing eighty acres, and 
into quarters, each containing forty acres. With this checkerboard arrange- 
ment, it is possible to number and identify easily all regular plots of ground. 
Thus a square ten-acre tract of land in the southeast corner of a section is 
called the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter 
of that section. 

Corner stones or other monuments have been set out and properly marked 
at the comers of all sections, and at the half-mile points between them, a rec- 
ord of which is kept at the surveyor's office. Additional monuments to mark 
the smaller subdivisions of the section are also placed by the surveyor on 
proper petition after notice to the land owners interested. 

This regular and convenient system of survey not only made it possible 
for early settlers to locate and identify their entries without the aid of a sur- 
veyor, and save much needless litigation over conflicting boundary lines, but 
it had other important tendencies. Square townships are apt to make square 
or rectangular counties and the state is also likely to have a more .S3rm- 
metrical shape. The counties of Virginia and Kentucky, taking shape from 
river or mountain boundaries, are jagged and irregular in outline, while the 
counties of Indiana are more likely to be bounded by parallel lines. Our 
highways thus come to be laid out in regular and straight lines, giving easy 
access in every direction and making the cultivation of the adjoining fields 

Digitized by 



more convenient. Then, too, an eighty-acre tract could be purchased from 
the government at the time of entry for one hundred dollars, or a forty-acre 
tract for fifty dollars, thus rendering an ''entry of land" a simple and 
easy business transaction. 

It is often asked, why are the sections on the north and west side of 
each congressional township fractional? Some of the half quarter sections 
in our county, commonly called "eighties," really contain less than sixty 
acres. The question bears a ready solution. The law, while it required the 
meridian or township lines to be true north and south lines, also required the 
townships to be square — ^an evident impossibility — for all true north and 
south lines, by reason of the convexity of the earth's surface, converge to- 
ward the poles, thus making the north line of the township shorter than the 
south line. This inequality becomes more and more marked, the higher the 
latitude of the survey. In the survey of our state, therefore, the lines were 
corrected every six miles, the range lines again starting at correct distances 
from the principal meridian. The survey being continued from the south 
toward the north, the deficiency or excess is thrown to the west and north 
sides of the township. 

In making these surveys the instruments employed were a solar com- 
pass; a surveyor's chain, thirty-three feet long, made up of fifty links; 
eleven tally pins ; a telescope, and tools for marking trees and stones. In a 
survey through the woods, trees on the line of the survey were marked by 
two notches on each side, and sometimes trees near the line were blazed on 
two sides quartering toward the line. One of the oldest highways in the 
county, yet known as the Three Notch road, got its name from the blazes 
used to mark its route. These marks or blazes were to be plainly recognized 
for many years, indeed as long as the tree remains standing, for the scar is 
never entirely covered in the growth of the tree. But, by reason of the re- 
moval of the forest trees, nearly all such monuments have been destroyed, and 
surveys are now witnessed by other monuments more durable, or less likely 
to be removed. 

Nineveh township was surveyed by Abraham Lee in the year 1819. In 
June, 1820, that part of Franklin township lying in township 12, of range 5 
(now in Needham township), was surveyed by John Hendricks. In August 
of the same year that part of Franklin township l)ring in range 4 was sur- 
veyed by Thomas Hendricks. In the month of August, 1820, John Hen- 
dricks also surveyed all the lands in Blue River township, and after he had 

Digitized by 



finished this work he surveyed Union township. Hensley was surveyed at 
about the same time by B. Bently, who ako surveyed that part of White River 
township lying in township 13. W. B. McLaughlin surveyed all of White 
River township in township 14 north. Later in the same year Thomas Hen- 
dricks surveyed all the lands in what is now Pleasant township, while John 
Hendricks surveyed all the lands contained in the present limits of Clark 

Taking into consideration the difficulties in the way of an accurate 
survey, the unbroken wilderness, the tangled undergrowth, the unbridged 
streams, the almost endless marshes in some sections, it is surprising with 
what degree of accuracy this pioneer work of survey was dbne. And had 
the fciter records been made and kept with the care and fidelity of the first, 
•little trouble would ever have been met in conveyancing or tracing records. 
But carelessness crept in, and in many of the deeds and court records, so little 
care was used as to render them meaningless to us. For example, one peti- 
tion for a highway filled in commissioners' court thus defines its^ course: 
''Commencing at the end of a road running from Jacob Peggs, Esq., crossing 
the Madison road above David Trout's old stand, in by Littleton Hills to the 
three notch line where it makes a sudden halt." 

Since the constitution of 185 1 was adopted the county surveyor is 
elected f^r a terra of two years. He is charged with the duty of making and 
preserving an accurate record of all surveys, and of planning and supervising 
the construction of all highways and drains. He prepares plans and specifi- 
cations for all bridge work, under direction of the board of commissioners, 
and has charge of all repair work on drains. As drainage commissioner he 
is entitled to receive as compensation four dollars per day for time actually 
employed, but in ordinary field work he is entitled to charge certain fees 
specified by statute. The surveyor of Johnson county was paid for his services 
to the county in the year 1912 the sum of $1,186.72, but this does not include 
private work nor allowances as commissioner in partition cases. 

Prior to 1851 the office of surveyor was filled by appointment of the 
board of commissioners. Judge Banta says that the following persons filled 
the office of surveyor : James H. Wishard, Thomas Williams, Hiram Graves 
and G. M. Overstreet. James H. Wishard was appointed county surveyor 
March 2, 1846, for a term of three years. Commissioner's Record "B," 
page 43, shows the appointment of John S. "Hougham at the August term, 
1848, and the earliest field notes now of record bear date of that year. He 
served until the election of Franklin Hardin under the new constitution. 

Digitized by 



The following persons have served as county surveyor since 1851 : 

Franklin Hardin i852-'54 

John S. Hougham iSs4-'56 

Peterson K. Parr i856-'58 

John E. Stretcher i858-'6i 

W. W. Hubbard i86i-'65 

Joseph J. Moore 1865-'67 

Peterson K. Parr ___! 1867-^0 

W. M. Elliott i870-'72 

Wilson T. Hougham l872-'74 

Peterson K. Parr , i874-'78 

David A. Leach .. i878-'82 

Wilson T. Hougham i882-'86 

Ben R. Ransdell 1 i886-'90 

Floyd S. Owens i890-'92 

Ben R. Ransdell ^ 1 i892-'93 

Thomas Hardin i893-'94 

Wilson T. Hougham i894-*96 

Elba L. Branigin J i896-'98 

John E. Jolliffe i898-'o4 

John B. Duckworth i904-'r4 


The assessment of real and personal property for the purposes of taxa- 
tion has been a vexatious problem in Indiana, and the subject of many legis- 
lative experiments. In the beginning the tax levy was a specific listing of 
chattels without regard to value, aided by special licenses on various occupa- 
tions. The first tax levy of record was made by the board of county justices 
in 1826 and reads as follows: 

"Ordered, that for the purpose of raising a county revenue for the year 
1826, there be levied on each horse, mule or ass over three years old 37 J4 cents ; 
on each work oxen, 18^ cents; on each gold watch, $1.00; on each silver 
or pinch-back watch, 25 cents; on each white male person over the age of 21 
years, 50 cents; on license to retail foreign merchandise, $15.00; on license 
for tavern, $5.00; on ferrys, $2.50; on each covering horse, $2.00." 

For the year 1827 were added special license fees on retailers of spirit- 
nous liquors ; a tax of one dollar on each pleasure carriage and on each brass 

Digitized by 



clock, sixty-two and one-half cents. Real estate also comes under the tax 
gatherer's eye, the levy being twenty-five cents on each one hundred acres of 
first rate land, twenty cents on same acreage of second rate land, and sixteen 
cents on third rate land. It cost the same to own four hundred acres of first 
rate land as it did to enjoy the luxury of a pleasure carriage. The gold watch 
and three hundred acres of the best land had the same value in the eyes of the 
tax collector. 

In the year 1828 th^re was added a levy of fifty cents per one hundred 
dollars in value on each town lot — the first recognition of value as a basis of 
taxation. It was not until 1839 that the county board made a levy of taxes 
by fixing a rate on valuation, and even then many special license fees were 
levied. For state purposes a levy of fifteen cents on the hundred dollars was 
levied, as well as a poll tax of fifty cents.. For county purposes the rate was 
seven cents, with a poll tax of fifty cents; for road purposes, three cents. 
License fees were fixed as follows: On each license to vend clocks, $50; 
exhibit shows, $50 per day; to keep a ferry, $2.50; and to vend liquors, $10. 

It cost just twenty doIlai:s to secure an assessment of all property in the 
county in 1826. William Barnett, of Blue River, John S. Miller, of Nineveh, 
Hugh Williams, of Franklin, and Absalom Lowe, of White River, each re- 
ceived five dollars for assessing their respective townships, the county being 
then divided into four townships named. "Listers" were also appointed 
for the various townships in 1827, and such appointments were made by the 
county board at each January session succeeding until the March term, 1836, 
when they divided the county into seven districts and appointments of as- 
sessors were named by districts. This arrangement continued until the year 
1840, when, at the January session, William C. Jones was appointed as 
assessor for the entire county. 

Thenceforward and until the Constitution of 185 1 the county assessor 
and his deputies prepared the assessment roll for the whole county. He was 
elected for a term of two years, and was allowed two dollars per day for 
services of himself or deputy. By the new Constitution the assessment of all 
real and personal property was entrusted to township assessors elected by the 
voters of the several townships. And so it yet remains, except as to certain 
corporation property whose valuation is now fixed by the state board of tax 

The tax law of 1891 (Acts 1891, page 199) created the office of county 
assessor, fixing his term at four years, but limiting his authority to the cor- 
rection of errors in the returns of the township assessors, and to the addition 

Digitized by 



of property omitted from the lists. Together with the auditor and treasurer, 
then constituting the county board of review, he has authority to equalize 
assessments of property and on notice to parties may add to the list any 
omitted or undervalued property. 

The county board of review is now composed of the auditor, treasurer, 
assessor, and two freeholders appointed by the judge of the circuit court. 
In this county the session begins on the first Monday in June and may 
extend its session to thirty days. A per diem of three dollars is allowed each 

The county assessor of Johnson county receives an annual salary of 
eight hundred and fifty dollars. The total cost of assessment of property in 
the county for the year 1912, including pay of township assessors, county 
assessor and the board of review, was $4,928.36. 

The following named have served as county assessor : 

William C. Jones 1840-1841 

James Hughes 1841-1843 

Daniel McClain 1843-1844 

David R. McGaughey 1844- 

John Ritchey 1844-1846 • 

Jeremiah M. Woodruff 1846-1848 

Malcolm M. Crow 1848-1850 

Hume Sturgeon 1850-1851 

Peterson K. Parr 1891-1896 

Harvey M. Kephart 1896-1900 

Francis P. Clark 1900-1906 

Augustus D. Sullivan 1906 


The office of county superintendent of schools was created by the act of 
March 8, 1873. He has general supervision of the public schools of the 
county, except the city schools. It is his duty to grant teachers* licenses to 
applicants who successfully pass the examination required by law. The 
examination is public and the questions uniform throughout the state. Under 
the old practice of holding the examinations in private, with no precise stand- 
ards of tests, many abuses had grown up. It is recalled by B. F. Kennedy, 
a pioneer teacher, that he secured a two-year license by successfully naming 

Digitized by 



and defining the different genders of nouns, as he and the county examiner 
passed from the street to the court house door. 

The superintendent of schools must at the time of his election hold a 
thirty-six months' license, a sixty-months' license, a life license or a pro- 
fessional license. He must visit each school under his charge annually; he 
conducts county institutes, and in many school matters decides controversies 
between school authorities; he makes requisitions for school books and 
oversees their distribution. He reports the enumeration of school children 
to the state authorities, as well as general school statistics. He is ex-officio 
a member of the county board of education, consisting of the township 
trustees and the chairmen of the boards of trustees of town schools. Aside 
from the election of truant officer, the county board of education is chiefly a 
friendly council of school officers. 

At first a two-year office, the term was extended to four years by the 
act of March 3, 1899, and under the act of 1913, page 160, the terms of all 
county superintendents is extended to August 16, 191 7. The next election 
of such officer will be held on the first Monday in June, 191 7, when an 
election will be made by the township trustees, the auditor having a vote in 
case of a tie. The reason assigned for such extension is that a previous 
Legislature had extended the terms of the present township trustees until 
January i, 191 5, so as to put the election of school officers in an "off year" 
and escape the influence of partisan politics. And having extended the term 
of the trustees, it would not be advisable to at once throw the new trustees 
into the turmoil of an election for county superintendent. After they have 
served two years, they will have more experience and will have had time to 
learn how good an officer the present incumbent is. 

The superintendent of schools is paid an annual salary in our county 
of $1,408.50, the equivalent of $4.50 for each working day of the year. He 
is required to give bond in the sum of $5,000, and is allowed office room in 
the court house, together with postage and office expense. The total cost of 
the office to the county for the year 1912 was $1,843.64. 

As will be seen in another connection (see chapter on Education and 
Schools) the matter of public education was given little consideration until 
after the adoption of the new Constitution in 185 1. In that year the John- 
son circuit court, at its March term, appointed A. B. Hunter, Duane Hicks 
and Samuel P. Oyler as examiners for common school teachers. Prior to 
that time, however, the following had served under appointment of the cir- 
cuit court: Fabius M. Finch, Pierson Murphy and Gilderoy Hicks in 1834; 

Digitized by 



Hicks and John C. King in 1837; William Brand, Adam Carson and James 
Ritchey in 1845. I" June, 1854, William H. Barnett, Jacob Peggs and J. H. 
Williams were appointed school examiners by the board of commissioners; 
Thomas W. Woollen was elected to same office in September, 1857; in 1861 
and in 1865 JoHn H. Martin was elected; David D. Banta served in 1866, 
and William T. Stott in 1870. These are the only school examiners whose 
appointment I find of record, but doubtless others served. 

Fortunately for our school work, the men at the head of our common 
school system have been, almost without exception, men of high character 
and scholarly attainments. The school examiners were not all educators, but 
nearly all were professional men of the highest standing. Among the super- 
intendents, Hervey D. Vories was in 1890 elected to the office of state 
superintendent has just completed a term of four years as a member of the 
superintendent of schools, and served the state acceptably. The present 
state board of education. 

It would not be fair to say, however, that politics has played no part in 
selection of our school men. At the June meeting of the year 1907 the 
trustees attempted to elect a county superintendent, but met with difficulty by 
reason of the refusal of one trustee to attend and vote. Four of the trus- 
tees, Paskins, of Hensley, Hughes, of Nineveh, Brickert, of White River, 
and Haymaker, of Union, were Democrats and voted for the re-election of 
Hendricks. Other four of the trustees, Williams, of Clark, McCoIlough, of 
Franklin, Salisbury, of Needham, and McCartney, of Pleasant, were Re- 
publicans and opposed to the election of a Democrat. J. M. Carvin, Repub- 
lican trustee of Blue River, refused to attend any meeting. The auditor, 
David A. Forsythe, was a Republican, but was not able to exercise his right 
of casting the deciding vote, as the Democrats "filibustered" by splitting their 

And so the matter stood, Hendricks holding over, until after the resig- 
nation of Jchn R. Brickert, trustee of White River township, on February 
12, 1898. Auditor Forsythe promptly appointed John Hardin, independent 
Democrat, to succeed Brickert, and three days later, at a meeting of the 
trustees, Hardin joined with the four Republicans in the election of John 
W. Terman, Republican, and he was again elected at the regular June meet- 
ing, 1899, serving four years, the office having been changed from a two to a 
four-year office by the act of March 3, 1899. 

Digitized by 



The official register is as follows: 

B. F. Kennedy 1873-1875 * 

John H. Martin 1875-1881 

David A. Owen 1881-1883 

M. F. Rickoff 1883-1885 

Hervey D. Vories 1885-1891 

Charles F. Patterson 1891-1894 

Eldo L. Hendricks 1894-1898 

John W. Terman 1898-1903 

Jesse C. Webb 1903 

Charles F. Patterson was first elected to succeed Vories, resigned, on 
March 2, 1891. Eldo L. Hendricks was first elected to succeed Patterson, 
resigned, on August 30, i8i94. 


A short-hand reporter is appointed by the judge of the circuit court and 
is allowed a per diem of five dollars. Mrs. Minnie Meggenhofen Owens was 
court stenographer continuously from 1888 to 1909, and her record as such 
was marked by unusual talent and fidelity to her important task. Miss 
Myrtle Wiley, of Edinburg, has been the efficient reporter since 1909. Prior 
to 1888 W. C. Sandefur and wife served the court in the same capacity, 
they being the first short-hand reporters of the county. 

A board of county charities and corrections and a board of childrens' 
guardians are appointed by the judge of the circuit court. Each serves with- 
out compensation. The first named have an oversight of the county insti- 
tutions of a charitable and correctional nature; the second, of all neglected 
and dependent children. 

The county physician attends prisoners confined in the county jail and 
inmates of the county poor asylum and orphans' home. He is appointed 
yearly by the county board, at a salary fixed by it. The position pays one 
hundred and fifty dollars yearly. 

Two jury commissioners are appointed annually by the judge. They 
receive a per diem allowance of three dollars. Together with the clerk of the 
circuit court, they take from the tax duplicate a list of persons qualified by 
law to serve as jurors and deposit the slips containing the names in the jury 

One week before each term of court they meet and draw from the box 

Digitized by 



the names of six persons, who are summoned as grand jurors, and other 
twelve who are summoned as petit jurors. Under recent provisions of the 
law, they are also called in to fill vacancies in the regular panel. In 191 2 
grand and petit jurors and bailiffs were paid out of the county funds for 
their services $4,928.36. This amount will henceforth be increased as the 
per diem allowance of jurors was by the act of 191 3, page 114, increased 
from one dollar and twenty-five cents to two dollars and fifty cents per day. 

The county attorney is not, strictly speaking, a county officer. The courts 
have held that the board of county commissioners have authority to employ 
attorneys to prosecute actions in behalf of the county and defend the same. 
But the office is not defined by statute, nor its duties prescribed. In some 
counties the county attorney is employed to advise the county officers gen- 
erally as to all questions affecting public interests. But in Johnson county 
the more correct view is taken that the board only has authority to employ 
attorneys to represent the county. The county attorney is required to attend 
sessions of the board and of the county council and to prosecute and defend 
all actions in which the county is a party. The first regular appointment of 
county attorneys of record bears date of June 16, 1869. ^^ that time Banta 
& Byfield were employed at fifty dollars per year. On March 15, 1871, after 
Judge Banta went on the bench, Woollen & Byfield were appointed at a salary 
of one hundred dollars per year, with extra pay for cases in circuit court. 
On October 21, 1875, Judge Woollen was employed at a salary of three 
hundred dollars per year. Beginning at the December term, 1876, Woollen 
& Banta were retained as county attorneys at salaries varying from two 
hundred and fifty to four hundred dollars until Judge Banta's removal from 
Franklin in 1889. From 1889 to 1896 Judge Woollen ably represented the 
county as its legal adviser, receiving a salary of two hundred dollars, at 
which figure the salary of the office has since remained. White & White 
next served for a term of four years, to be followed by Deupree & Slack 
for a period of six years. George I. White was appointed county attorney 
December 5, 1906, and served three years, and was followed by Branigin & 
Williams for a like term. Miller & White were appointed at the January 
term, 1913. 

No counsel for pauper criminals has been regularly employed for many 
years. On application to the court, such appointment is made under section 
281, R. S. 1908. 

The county truant officer is employed by the county board of education 
annually, on the first Monday in May. He is charged with the duty of 

Digitized by 



enforcing attendance of children at school, and receives a per diem of two 
dollars. Last year he was paid $298.00. The office is regarded as a sinecure 
and in the opinion of many ought to be abolished. 

The secretary of the county board of health is appointed annually by 
the board of commissioners. His principal duty is to keep a record of all 
marriages, births, deaths, and cases of contagious diseases. He enforces 
obedience to health laws and the regulations of the state board. The position 
is now filled by Dr. Oren A. Province. The salary is three hundred and 
fifteen dollars, and an allowance of fifteen dollars for office expenses. 

Digitized by 





William Watson Wick, the first judge to preside in our court, was a 
most distinguished jurist and politician, as a sketch of his career will prove. 
Born in Cannonsburg, Washington county, Pennsylvania,, on February 23, 
1796, he was brought by his father, a Presbyterian minister, to Ohio in 1800. 
He was reared on the farm, but, being a lover of books and not inclined to 
his father's profession, he was sent to college and, aiter his father's death in 
1 81 4, taught school for two years. He then went down the river to Cin- 
cinnati, where he taught school by day and studied medicine at night. He 
later turned to the study of law with the Hon. Thomas Corwin, of Lebanon, 
Ohio, and in December, 1819, came to Connersville, Indiana. In 1820 he 
served as clerk of the House of Representatives, and when a new circuit 
was established on December 31, 1821, Wick was elected judge thereof, and 
so became the first judge of the New Purchase, and early in 1822 moved to 
Indianapolis, his home for many years. 

At that time, and until the Constitution of 185 1, president judges were 
elected by the General Assembly, and Wick owed his elevation to this high 
office at the early age of twenty-five partly, no doubt, to his urbane manner 
and his pleasant address, although he later showed much ability as a lawyer. 
When he came to his new duties the circuit was composed of thirteen coun- 
ties, Lawrence, Monroe, Morgan, Greene, Owen, Marion, Hendricks, Rush, 
Decatur, Bartholomew, Shelby, Jennings and Johnson. Judge Wick opened 
his first session of court at Indianapolis at the house of General Carr on 
September 26, 1822, but it was at once adjourned to another house on the 
north side of Washington street, west of the canal. The second session was 
begiin at Carr's house in May of the following year, but it was at once ad- 
journed to the Washington Hall Tavern. 

Judge Wick came to Johnson county in the fall of 1823 and held the 
first court at the cabin of John Smiley on Sugar creek, on the i6th day of 

Digitized by 



October. Smiley's cabin was a two-room log house, in one of which Judge 
Wick held court, and in the other the grand jury met. Mrs. Smiley lay 
sick in the jury room, and the story has been handed down that when Daniel 
B. Wick, prosecuting attorney and brother of the judge, came into the room 
he pulled a bottle of whisky from his pocket, first gallantly offered it to the 
sick woman and then to the jurors. And the sick woman always thereafter 
asserted that she alone refused the treat. 

At this first term one civil case was heard by the court and disposed of. 
The civil case was an action on account, "a plea of trespass on the case," 
demand seventy-seven dollars. Upon a default, judgment was entered and 
the defendant is brought into court by his special bail and remanded to a 
debtor's cell. Arrest in civil cases was a common occurrence, the plea us- 
ually alleging that the defendant was "contriving and fraudulently intending 
craftily and subtilely to deceive and defraud'' the plaintiff, and imprison- 
ment for debt under this form of procedure was the usual fate of the un- 
fortunate debtor. 

In this action the firm of Gregg & Wilson are noted as attorneys for 
the plaintiff, the first counsel at the bar of a Johnson county court. Harvey 
Gregg, who two years later served as circuit prosecutor, was a most enter- 
taining "circuit rider," and many stories are repeated of the incidents that 
cheered the lonely trips from court to court. Judge Franklin Hardin lived 
at the Bluffs of White River on the road then most in use from Franklin to 
Indianapolis, and he had many opportunities to associate 'with the bar of 
these earliest days. Court lasted only a few days, business was rushed 
through, and the judge and the lawyers went their way together to the next 
county seat. Frequently they traveled on horseback throughout the night, 
beguiling the time with speeches on law, on politics or religion. Of Harvey 
Gregg, Judge Hardin related that his favorite effort at entertainment was 
an orthodox Calvinistic sermon. Gregg was a Kentuckian and had studied 
for the ministry under the Rev. Archibald Cameron. He was able not only 
to set forth the particular tenets of the various sharply defined creeds of the 
day, but he was skillful in imitating the pulpit methods of the pioneer preach- 
ers. He could caricature the more dignified address of the Scotch Cove- 
nanters, the unlettered sermonizing of the backwoods Baptists, and the vehe- 
ment appeal of the Methodists. One of the sermons of his old instructor 
upon the text "Therefore being justified by faith," he had memorized, and 
could repeat it from the first to the sixteenth head of the discourse with all 
the unction and fervor of the old-fashioned Presbyterian preacher. 

Judge Wick told another story of Harvey Gregg which is characteristic 

Digitized by 



of the men and the times. It is thus repeated by Judge Banta in "The Bench 
and Bar of Indiana": "The Bartholomew court came to an end late one 
afternoon, when Judge Wick, Philip Sweetser and Harvey Gregg, at about 
nightfall, took the road for Franklin. The road was next to impassable and 
their progress was slow. Some time after the trio reached the place now 
marked by the village of Amity, in Johnson county, an opossum was dis- 
covered in the highway. At once one of the riders dismounted and suc- 
ceeded in catching the animal before it could make off; he soon had it *pos- 
suming.' Here was a new diversion. What should be done with the 'possum 
found trespassing in the public way was the question. The trespasser was 
at once put to trial. Wick sat as judge, Gregg prosecuted and Sweetser 
defended, and the Judge long after asserted that the arguments of the two 
lawyers were ingenious and highly entertaining. The beast was found 
guilty of being *in, upon and obstructing the public highway/ and the judg- 
ment of the court was that he should receive thirty-nine lashes, which pun- 
ishment was at once administered, after which the party resumed their 
journey and reached Franklin at daylight." 

The criminal case disposed of at the March session of our court in 
1824 was an indictment against David Burkhart for an affray with Richard 
Berry. It was charged and proven that the defendant by agreement with 
Berry fought together in a public place to the great terror of the good cit^'- 
zens of the county, and by the verdict of the jury, the defendant was fined 
in the sum of one cent "for the use of the County Seminary of Johnson 
County." It is a matter often remarked by historians of our pioneer days 
that breaches of the peace were the most common offenses, and, of these, 
affrays greatly outnumbered other offenses. In all new communities the 
spirit of personal independence is exaggerated, and neighbors settle disputes 
in a summary manner. To fight "by agreement" was regarded as a gentle- 
man's privilege, and while it sometimes met with punishment, the fine was 
small and the offender was rather proud of his misdemeanor. A charge of 
assault and battery was preferred only in cases where a man attacked a 
weaker or unoffending brother, and in such case the crime was more oprpro- 
brious and the punishment was aqcordingly more severe. For example, we 
note that in the list of fines reported by James Thompson, a justice of the 
peace in Blue River township in 1832, nine are for affrays, with fines of 
one dollar each, while only two are for assault and battery, one of which 
cases drew a fine of twenty dollars. Of the other cases reported by the 
Squire, three are for "profane swearing," two for running a horse, two for 
Sabbath breaking, and one for exhibiting a show. 

Digitized by 



Criminal actions greatly outnumbered the civil actions on the dockets 
of our court in the twenties and thirties. At the second term of the John- 
son circuit court, in March, 1824, four of the cases, out of a total of six, 
were for affrays and batteries. At the luext September terra, twelve actions 
were docketed, of which eight were criminal, five being for batteries aad 
aflErays. At the March term, 1825, ten out of fifteen cases were criminal 
prosecutions, of which seven were for assaults and batteries, and for affrays. 
At the September term, 1825, of the fifteen cases on the docket, eight were 
criminal and all belonged to the class above named. At the March term, 
1826, thirteen out of nineteen cases were criminal, aad of these eleven were 
for the same offenses. And this proportion of criminal cases held for sev- 
eral years. 

Judge Banta, in commenting on this index of the civilization of the early 
times, well says: "The most casual study of Indiana's early history dis- 
closes the fact that the state was characterized hy what may truly be called a 
*pugjiacious age,' an age that came in with the first Anglo-American settlers 
at Clarksville and to have continued well up into the forties. A pugnacious 
spirit seems to have pervaded all classes. A study of tiie history of the 
times as read in the newspapers of the period, and in the records of church 
courts as well as the civil, discloses this fact. A hint has aJready been given 
as to the disclosures made by the court records of the readiness of the people 
to brawl and fight ; the same records disclose the fact that the people were no 
less ready to use their tongues against each other, than their fists. In the 
language of the times, they 'tongue-lashed' each mercilessly. As a result, 
the old dockets were seldom without an array of slander cases." 

One civil case was disposed of at the March term, 1824, in our court. 
Court was held at the house of George King in Franklin on the i6th day of 
March, Fletcher & Morris appearing as counsel. Our county historian. Judge 
Banta, makes the statement that the court was convened at George King's 
wheel-wright shop on the first Monday in March, and that Gabriel Johnson, 
Philip Sweetser, Edgar C. Wilson and Hiram Brown were admitted to 
practice at the Johnson county bar. But the writer is unable to verify his 
statements from the original records either as to the date or as to names of 
attorneys who were before the court at that term. Court in this county was 
held pursuant to statute on the third Monday in March. An examination 
of the records discloses the fact that Calvin Fletcher was probably the only 
lawyer in attendance. Fletcher was an Indianapolis lawyer of much ability 
and his partner, Morris, was soon to become Wick's successor on the bench. 

At the close of the year 1824 Judge Wick resigned to accept the office 

Digitized by 



of secretary of state for a term of four years. He returned to Johnson 
county, however, at the March term, 1825, as counsel for the plaintiff in an 
action in chancery involving the title to a quarter section of land near 
Amity. Judge Wick later returned to the circuit as prosecuting attorney, 
and in 1834 again was elected to the bench of this, the fifth judicial circuit. 
In 1835 he changed his politics, becoming a Jackson Democrat, and on re- 
tiring from the judicial office in 1839 was elected to Congress on the Demo- 
cratic ticket. In 1845, ^^d again in 1847, he was elected member of Con- 
gress from the district of which our county then formed a part. In 1849 he 
was elected presidential elector, and during the administration of President 
Franklin Pierce served four years as postmaster of Indianapolis. In 1850 
he was again elected judge of our circuit and served for seven years, and in 
1859 he occupied the bench of the circuit for a few months. 

Thus for nearly forty years Judge Wick was in public life, for more 
than sixteen years honorably filling the office of circuit judge. The Hon. 
John Coburn, in his sketches of the personality of the members of the bar 
of the Indiana supreme court of 1843, thus describes Judge Wick: "The 
best looking man about town, as he was called. He had a grand and com- 
manding figure — a great, massive head, a lofty and columnar forehead, 
projecting far over a pair of bright eyes. His voice was deep and im- 
pressive. He had been judge of the circuit court and a member of Congress. 
On the bench he presided with great ease and dignity. He often said that, 
his salary being small, he was only paid to guess at the law and was not 
bound to know it all. He was indolent, good natured and careless in business 
matters. He took life in an easy way. Never acquired property or seemed 
to care for its possession or strove to obtain it. He had a fair knowledge 
of the law, and when he chose to make an effort at the bar or on the bench, 
rose easily into the sphere of a strong man. He had abilities to be powerful, 
but put off the day of achievernent. He excelled in conversation, had a good 
memory ; he had talked much and was adroit in expression, often humorous, 
always entertaining." 

In 1848 Judge Wick said of himself, according to the author of "Bench 
and Bar of Indiana" : "At the present writing Mr. Wick is fifty-two years 
of age, fair, a little fat, having increased since 1833 from one hundred and 
forty-six to two hundred and ten pounds; six feet and one inch in height, 
good complexion, portly — has been called the best looking man about town — 
but that was ten years ago — ^not to be sneezed at now — 2, little gray — has 
had chills and fever, bilious attacks and dyspepsia enough to kill a dozen 


Digitized by 



common men, and has passed through misfortunes sufficient to humble a 
score of ordinary specimens of human nature. He acquired a good deal of 
miscellaneous knowledge, loves fun, looks serious, rises early, works much, 
and has a decided penchant for light diet, humor, reading, business, the 
drama, a fine horse, his gun and the woods. Wick owes nothing, and were 
he to die today his estate would inventory $800 or $900. He saves nothing 
of his per diem and mileage and yet has no vices to run away with money. 
He 'takes no thought for the morrow,' but relies upon the good Providence 
to which he is debtor for all. Wick would advise young men to fear and 
trust God, to cheat rogues and deceive intriguers by being perfectly honest 
(this mode misleads such cattle effectually), to touch the glass lightly, to 
eschew security and debt, tobacco, betting, hypocrisy and federalism, to 
rather believe or fall in with new philosophical and m'oral humbugs, and to 
love w^oman too well to injure her. They will thus be happy now% and will 
secure serenity at fifty-two years of age and thence onward.'' 

The circuit riding lawyers and judges w^re not only exposed to great 
physical hardships, but their entertainment at the lonely cabin of the pioneer 
and at the village taverns promoted a spifit of recklessness and jollity not 
consistent with steady, sober-minded living. Many of them were intemper- 
ate, and none escaped the influences of their surroundings. We are not 
surprised to find, therefore, that even so clean a man as Judge Wick should, 
while serving as judge of the Johnson circuit court, be indicted and punished 
for **gaming." Oliver H. Smith, in his "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches," 
tells of the custom prevailing among the lawyers to meet at night and while 
away the tedious hours about the taverns with social games of cards, the 
winner taking a "snort" and the loser a "smell," the judges of the courts 
often leading in these old-fashioned amusements. The habit of drinking 
intoxicants was well-nigh universal, and yet few drank to excess. 

Judge Smith relieves the story of the dissipations of the times (meas- 
ured by present standards) by many anecdotes of the merry gatherings of 
these circuit riders, and points an attractive picture of the better side of their 
fun-loving, gay careers. He says: "The great variety of trials and inci- 
dents on the circuit gave to the life of the traveling attorney an interest that 
we a,ll relished exceedingly. There w as none of the green-bag city monotony, 
no dyspepsia, no gout, no ennui, rheumatism or neuralgia ; consumption was 
a stranger among us. An occasional jump of the tooth-ache, relieved by the 
turnkey of the first doctor we came to, was the worst. All was fun, good 
humour, fine jokes well received, good appetites and sound sleeping, cheerful 
landlords, and good natured landladies at the head of the table." 

Digitized by 



Judge Banta tells of many practical jokes played by these itinerant 
lawyers, among them the following : "Daniel B. Wick was a great wag and 
loved his joke almost as well as he did his bottle. On one occasion he craved 
entertainment at the house of George King in Franklin, and knowing that 
Mr. King was a Presbyterian and entertained without charge preachers of 
that faith, Wick passed himself off as a Presbyterian preacher. The next 
morning the weather was damp and disagreeable, and when the visitor was 
arrayed for the road King set out his bottle with the suggestion that in view 
of the character of the morning a dram would not, perhaps, be objectionable. 
Wick offered no objection, but relating the adventure afterwards, he declared 
that he was never so sorry for anything in his life as that he was playing 
preacher for the moment, as he was compelled to drink a preacher's dram, 
when he wanted so very much to drink a lawyer's.'' 

From these scenes and sketches, necessary to a sympathetic understand- 
ing of the lives of these pioneer lawyers and judges, we anticipate the close 
of the story of the life of the first and in many respects the greatest of the 
judges known to Johnson county citizens. Judge Wick came to old age loved 
by all, but broken in health and fortune. The last few years were spent at 
the home of his daughter, Mrs. William H. Overstreet, near the corner of 
King and Breckenridge streets in the city of Franklin. He died on the 19th 
day of May, 1868, and was buried in Greenlawn cemetery in Franklin. His 
life story is full of human interest, and the memory of his useful life ought 
to be kept fresh in the minds of the men of today. Judge Wick and Judge 
Finch were the only judges of the first half century of the county who 
claimed this as their home, at any time. The other judges resided at the 
capital city and were, save for their official relations, as strangers to our 

Bethuel F. Morris, appointed by Governor William Hendricks to suc- 
ceed Judge Wick, began his service on the bench in this county at the March 
term, 1825, and continued until the September term, 1834. Judge Banta 
says of him : "Judge Morris was a slow man, slow in thought and slow in 
speech. He was not considered by the bar as a well-read lawyer, but he was 
a conscientious and painstaking worker. He paid great attention to the 
arguments of counsel, and usually gave satisfactory judgments, but fre- 
quently said : T!t is a good deal easier to give a good judgment than a good 
reason for it/ A few months before his comrriission expired, he resigned 
and took an office in the State Bank." 

Among the circuit-riding lawyers whose names most frequently appear ' 
in the records signed by Judge Morris are Harvey Gregg, Philip Sweetser, 

Digitized by 



Calvin Fletcher, Judge Wick, James Whitcomb, William Herod and Hiram 

Of the above named, Gregg was circuit prosecutor in 1825, Fletcher in 
1826, Whitcomb in 1827 and 1828, and Wick in 1829 and 1830. Philip 
Sweetser was employed in most 9f the civil cases of merit, and seems to 
have ranked high as a lawyer. He was bom in Massachusetts, was grad- 
uated from Harvard College, and, according to Simon Yandes, who writes 
of the Indianapolis bar of 1839, was a class-mate of Rufus Choate, Sweetser 
leading his class in Greek, and Choate leading in Latin. Jphn Cobum says of 
him : "A man of few words, who could condense an argument or a brief 
with more ease and precision than any man at the bar. A strong advocate, 
an excellent pleader, a skillful reasoner, a fearless defender of the rights of 
his client. He stood high in the supreme court because of the brevity, force, 
point and learning in his arguments. He was an Episcopalian in religion and 
a Whig in politics. A man of singular firmness and rectitude of character." 

James Whitcomb, governor of Indiana from 1843 ^^ 1848, and United 
States senator from 1848 to 1851, came often to our court, first as prosecuting 
attorney and later associated with Sweetser. Calvin Fletcher was a Ver- 
monter who had located in Indianapolis in 1821, and thereafter divided his 
time between business and the law. He was a successful banker and farmer, 
and a man of high repute. As a lawyer, he was slow to grasp a case, but he 
worked carefully and conscientiously, and his dealings with men had g^ven 
him a keen understanding of human nature. With Fletcher's name on our 
records is associated the name of Hiram Brown, acknowledged by many of 
his contemporaries as the leading lawyer of central Indiana. Hiram Brown 
had little schooling, but his enthusiastic temperament and unflagging zeal, 
supplemented by an inborn grace of manner and speech, made him a great 
advocate, and he was everywhere noted as a speaker before juries. 

With lawyers of such force and character riding the circuit it is little 
wonder that court week attracted unusual crowds. The lawyers, many of 
them from the older communities east of the mountains, brought with them 
the poh'tical news of the day, and their society was sought by the best people 
of the community. They were frequently guests at the homes of the more 
well-to-do, and their tavern was the center of the social life of the town 
for the week. The court room was thronged with visitors who came to see 
and hear the celebrities, and the court room became the people's university. 
The lawyers bent every effort to securing a verdict. An appeal was impossi- 
ble, almost, as the cases involved small amounts and courts of error were 
seldom sought by the litigant. Where the jury was the last resort, it was 

Digitized by 



all important to use all the arts of persuasion and logic in the jury speech. 
Hence, the florid style, the exuberant fancy, the graceful gesture, the vehe- 
ment manner were much more in evidence in the court room than now. The 
lawyer had few law books to. distract his mind, and his chief study was of 
his fellow man. They knew how to reach men by appeals to passion and 
prejudice, how to move them to sympathy and compassion, how to arouse 
anger and hatred, how to appeal to right and justice. And certainly we can 
believe that a law suit of the twenties was a better entertainment than those 
of the twentieth century. 

The first man sent to the penitentiary from Johnson county received his 
sentence at the hands of Judge Morris. Nathaniel Bell, mill owner on the 
Whetzel trace, was tried and convicted for marking two unmarked hogs, and 
was sentenced to one year in the state penitentiary. Judge Wick, we may 
infer, defended him, for at the same term Bell confesses judgment in favor 
of Wick in the sum of fifty- four dollars. Many other similar cases are found 
in the early records. Violations of the estray laws were numerous and met 
with summary punishment. Not long after Bell's conviction two of his boys 
were indicted and tried for killing a stray hog, on a charge of malicious 
mischief. The boys were acquitted upon a peremptory instruction by the 
court, to which Prosecuting Attorney Whitcomb excepted, and this the first 
bill of exceptions filed in our court was recorded in full on the order book. 
It reads: "Be it remembered that on the trfal of the above cause, the 
prosecuting attorney on behalf of the state gave in evidence that the de- 
fendant had said that he had killed a hog and about the time charged in the 
indictment. There was no other evidence that a hog had been killed except 
the above statement by the defendant. The jury were instructed that this 
testimony was not sufficient to convict the defendant without other evidence 
that a hog had been killed. To this instruction the prosecuting attorney 
excepts and prays that this his exception may be sealed and made a part of 
the record, which is accordingly done." 

The corpus delicti had not been proven, and yet according to Judge 
Banta (History of Johnson County, page 334), the defendants were proba- 
bly guilty, as "Joseph Vorhies, who settled about three miles north of Hope- 
well, hearing a shot in the woods, went in the direction of it, till he came to a 
couple of men who had killed and were skinning a hog. They appeared quite 
friendly, and affecting great admiration of his gun, one of them took it as if 
to look at it. No sooner was he disarmed than their demeanor changed. 
They threatened his life and the man really thought his end had come. The 
hog thieves reminded him that *dead men tell no tales,' but finally relenting, 

Digitized by 



they made him swear never to reveal what he had seen, and true to his oath, 
he never told it till after he moved to Iowa, and after both thieves had long- 
been dead." 

Many of the court records of Judge Morris' day exhibit the quaint 
phraseology and yet precise form of the old style pleading. Even the ver- 
dicts of the jury were recorded with curious, yet entirely proper phrasing. 
A few examples will illustrate: "Whereupon came the jurors of the jury 
to-wit: (naming them) tw^elve good and lawful men and discreet house- 
holders who being elected, tried and sworn well and truly to try the issue 
joined and the truth to speak between the parties upon theit' oaths do say :- 
We the jury find the defendant guilty and assess the plaintiff's damage at 
five hundred dollars." 

A demurrer to an answer followed this form: "And the plaintiff comes 
and says that the plea of the said defendant by the said defendant above 
pleaded is not sufficient in law to bar the said plaintiff of his said action nor 
is he bound by the law of the land to answer the same and this he is ready to 
verify." And to this demurrer, the defendant files his joinder in these 
words: "And the said defendant saith that the said plea by him above 
pleaded and the matters therein contained as the same are above pleaded and 
set forth are sufficient in law to bar and preclude the said plaintiff from 
having and maintaining his said action thereof against him and this the said 
defendant is ready to verify and prove when, where and in such manner as 
the court shall direct." The court rules with the defendant on his answer 
and the plaintiff refusing to plead further, "it is considered by the court that 
the defendant recover of the plaintiff his costs and charges by him in this 
behalf laid out and expended, and the plaintiff for his false clamor be 

The writer notes that about the beginning of the thirties most of the 
prominent circuit riders of the twenties ceased their visits to our court, and 
their places were filled by other lawyers less widely known. Among the 
latter were James B. Ray, John Eccles, William Ouarles, William Brown, 
John Livingston, John H. Scott, Humphrey Robinson, Thomas D. Walpole, 
William Sweetser, Christian C. Nave and William J. Peaslee. Of these, 
Ray, who had served as president of the Indiana Senate and in 1825 as 
acting governor, Thomas D. Walpole, of Greenfield, and Peaslee, afterward 
judge of the circuit, were the most prominent. The intellectual giants of the 
earlier days had withdrawn to other more promising fields, as the litigation 
continued to be of a petty character, petty criminal prosecutions greatly pre- 

Digitized by 



dominating. It may be noted, however, that Philip Sweetser returned to this 
county on a few occasions as late as 1840. 

Up to about 1830 not a resident lawyer had come to the county. Upon 
the authority of Judge Banta it is stated that about that time one Winchell 
located here for the practice of the law, but nothing is remembered of him as 
a practitioner and his name is not found on the records At the March term, 
1832, Fabius M. Finch was admitted to practice at our bar, and to him be- 
longs the honor of being the first Johnson county citizen admitted to this dis- 

Judge Bethuel F. Morris retired from the bench of this circuit at the 
end of the year 1834. He later became cashier of the Indianapolis Branch 
Bank, of which Calvin FletcHer was president, and we find no further men- 
tion of his career as a lawyer or judge. 

Judge W. W. Wick returned to the bench of the fifth judicial circuit in 
1835, his first record in our court bearing date of the March term of that 
year. Whether driven to the necessity by the conduct of attorneys, or in- 
duced thereto by a desire for a more prompt and orderly administration of 
justice, Judge Wick in 1837 adopted certain rules of court and caused them 
to be recorded in the order book. They are full and explicit and might well 
serve as an example for the present day. Rule No. 18 was doubtless in- 
tended to restrain too zealous counsel, for it orders: *'Harsh and dis- 
courteous language, unfriendly altercation, satirical and personal allusions 
to the conduct and motives of others, and allusions to matters dehors the 
business pending prove nothing, convince no one, tend to no profitable result, 
and are out of place in court. Parties or their counsel indulging in any of 
those things will be held to be in contempt, and although one wrong is no 
justification of another, the first wrongdoer will be held to be the principal 

Judge James Morrison began his duties as president judge of our court 
at the September term, 1839. Judge Morrison was a native of Scotland, 
very diligent in his profession, and of a most irascible temperament. He was 
not popular, but his integrity and ability were unquestioned. After his re- 
tirement from the bench after two years of service, he resumed practice of 
the law^ and was quite successful. In 1855 he was chosen attorney-general 
of Indiana, and in after life was president of the State Bank. 

Judge Morrison signed his last record in our court at the March term, 
1842. Judge Banta states in his "Historical Sketch of Johnson County" 
(page 84) that Governor Bigger thereupon appointed Fabius M. Finch, of 
the Johnson bar. as his successor for one year. We are not able to verify 

Digitized by 



this Statement. It is certain that Finch did not preside in our county, for 
the record shows that he was of counsel in several cases pending at the 
March and September sessions of that year, and all the records are signed 
by Robert Moore and James R. Alexander, associate judges. 

Judge William J. Peaslee assumed the duties of presiding judge of our 
court on January 12, 1843, ^i^d served seven years. Judge Peaslee, the son 
of a Quaker minister, was bom in Vermont, January 8, 1803. Receiving 
only a common school education, he engaged in business in early manhood, 
later studied law and in 1832 opened a law office in Shelby ville, Indiana. He 
was a Jacksonian Democrat, and represented Shelby county in the Legisla- 
ture of 1837. He was circuit prosecutor in 1839 ^"d 1840, and this was 
followed by his election by the state Legislature to the bench. After retiring 
from the bench, he lived at Shelbyville, moved thence to Chicago, and in 
1863 removed to Davis county, Missouri, where he died in 1866. During 
Peaslee's term, Hiram Brown, William Quarles, Hugh O'Neal and David 
Wallace were often before the bar of our court. In the latter part of his 
term (1848-49) G. M. Overstreet and A. B. Hunter began their career as law- 
yers, and they at once took a prominent place at our bar. Overstreet served 
as prosecuting attorney in 1849, and the first record bearing the name of the 
firm of Overstreet & Hunter is dated July 19, 1849. 

At the March term, 1850, Judge W. W. Wick again took his place on 
the bench in our county, serving until the September term, 1853, when he was 
succeeded by Stephen Major. Judge Banta places the date of Major's eleva- 
tion to the bench as 1857 (Historical Sketch, page 84), but he corrects the 
error in his later history of the county. Judge Major resigned in 1859, and 
Wick was appointed by Governor Willard to serve until after the fall election. 

Fabius M. Finch was elected in 1859 ^"d held the office for a term of 
six years. His career was noteworthy and deserves some extended notice. 
He was bom in Livingston county. New York, in 18 10. He came with his 
father to Connersville in the year that Indiana became a state, and remained 
in the state for the rest of his life. In 1819 the family again migrated, 
stopping at Muncie-town, the headquarters of Muncie, the chief of the 
Shawnees. The colony, of which the Finch family was a part, finally located 
on the prairie where Noblesville is now located. The father was the village 
blacksmith, and his shop and his home were frequented by travelers. Will- 
iam W. Wick was a guest of the Finch's on one of his circuits, fell in love 
with and married a daughter, and in 1828 took his young brother-in-law to 
his Indianapolis office. Finch had had little schooling, but he had a fine tutor 

Digitized by 



and soon qualified for admission to the bar. He came to Franklin in 1831, 
was admitted to the bar in March of the following year. 

Judge Banta says of his early life in Franklin : "There was not much 
for a lawyer to do in Franklin in those days at the legitimate practice of the 
law. There was not only little to do, but the people were poor and had but 
little money with which to pay for legal business. It was a prevailing cus- 
tom for lawyers to take the promissory notes of their clients for. services ren- 
dered, and the non-resident lawyers generally exchanged such of their notes 
as had any exchangeable value with the merchants of the county where the 
payers lived, for dry goods or even groceries. It was no uncommon thing 
in the early day to see Hiram Brown, Philip Sweetser and other lawyers 
riding out of Franklin with calicoes, muslins, jeans and other articles tied to 
their saddles, the product of such exchanges. 

"When Finch came to town Samuel Herriott was clerk of the circuit 
court, and kept his office in a little room in the rear of his storeroom, stand- 
ing on (near) the northwest comer of the public square. His records were 
very much behind, and it coming to his knowledge, that Finch wrote a good 
hand, he at once made him his deputy. William Shaffer, an honest old car- 
penter, who could make a wooden pin better than he could a quill pen was at 
the same time county recorder, and he too .sought the young man's help, and 
between the clerk's office and the recorder's. Finch found profitable employ- 
ment, profitable to himself we may hope, and certainly profitable to the 
people of Johnson county, for the records made by him are among the best 
that have ever been made in the county. After some time Pierson Murphy, 
a physidan of the town, was elected to the office of school commissioner and 
Finch acted as his deputy in the discharge of the duties of that office. 

"For many years after Johnson county was organized the Whigs held 
the better county offices, and Fabius M. Finch being a Whig, the office- 
holders quite naturally gave him their countenance and support. But he 
did not make himself known to the people as a deputy clerk or deputy re- 
corder only. He had a higher ambition, and that was to be known as a 
lawyer, and he succeeded. Clients came to him one by one, and his business 
so increased and he managed it in such a manner as to make himself known 
as one among the best lawyers in the circuit." 

In 1839 he was elected to the State Legislature, and he filled many local 
appointive offices with credit. Near the close of his term of office he re- 
moved to Indianapolis, and upon retiring from the bench formed a law part- 
nership with his son, John A. Finch, who became an insurance lawyer of 
national reputation. Judge Finch in 1889 received a severe injury from a 

Digitized by 



fall and retired from court practice, but he lived until 1900. His remains lie 
at rest in the family tomb at Greenlawn cemetery in Franklin. 

General John Coburn succeeded Judge Finch, but he presided in our 
court only a year, resigning to accept a nomination for Congress. He was 
little known to this community, but his long service in Congress made him a 
national character. Upon his retirement from Congress in 1875 he resided 
at Indianapolis, save foV a time he served as member of the supreme court of 
the territory of Montana. 

Cyrus C. Hines was elected in October, 1866, to the bench of the cir- 
cuit then composed of Marion, Hendricks and Johnson counties, first coming 
to our county in March, 1867. He continued to serve until the state was 
redistricted in 1869, thereafter retaining a place on the bench in Marion 
county until his resignation in 1870. He then formed a law partnership with 
Albert G. Porter and Benjamin Harrison. In 1873 Governor Porter retired 
from the firm and a year later W. H. H. Miller, became the junior partner. 
In 1883 John B. Elam was taken into the firm, and a year later Judge Hines 
retired to assume management of a deceased brother's estate. Later he re- 
moved to New York City. 

Samuel P. Oyler was appointed by Governor Conrad Baker judge of 
the new twenty-eighth judicial circuit, composed of the counties of Shelby, 
Bartholomew, Brown and Johnson, and qualified as such on August 25, 
1869. He was a native of England, born in Sussex county on August 26. 
18 19. At the age of fifteen he came to this country, stopping at Rochester, 
New York, for seven years. In 1841 he came to Indiana and located on a 
farm in Tippecanoe county. While a farmer, he became interested in the 
study of theology, united with the Unitarian church, and was presently li- 
censed to preach. For eight years he traveled through the states bordering 
on the Ohio river preaching the doctrines of his church, but in 1850 he 
found a home in the town of Franklin and took up the law. He entered the 
office of Gilderoy Hicks and on June 16, 185 1, was admitted to the bar of 
the Johnson circuit court. In 1852 and in 1854 he was elected prosecuting 
attorney of the district and soon made himself a place at the bar of our court. 
When the Civil war broke out he organized the first company of volunteers 
in the county and was chosen its captain. The company was given a place 
in the Seventh Regiment, and Oyler was at once promoted to major. When 
the three months campaign in West Virginia was at an end, Oyler returned 
to Franklin and resumed the practice of the law. In August, 1862. he again 
entered the army, as captain of a company in the Seventy-ninth Regiment, 
was soon promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and with his regiment was assigned 

Digitized by 



to duty in the Army of the Cumberland. Under General Buell and later 
General Rosecrans, his regiment had much serious work to do in the Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee and Georgia fighting, finally culminating in the Chickar 
mauga and Chattanooga campaigns. Colonel Oyler played a man's part in 
all these important movements, after the battle of Chickamauga leading back 
the remnants of the Twenty-first Corps, of which he was the ranking officer 
left on the field. 

Colonel Oyler later went with Sherman on his famous march to the 
sea, but in July, 1864, he was disabled and was compelled to resign a month 
later. He had barely returned home until he was elected to the Indiana 
Senate, where he served four years (1865-69). He served as judge of our 
court about fifteen months. After his retirement from the bench he was, as he 
had been throughout his residence here, much interested in local aflfairs. In 
1892 he was elected mayor of the city of Franklin, and, although of advanced 
years, was a capable and vigorous executive. 

Colonel Oyler was associated with but two attorneys in the practice at 
the Johnson bar. From the close of the war until 1874 he was senior mem- 
ber of the firm of Oyler & Howe, the latter being his step^son, the Hon. 
Daniel Wait Howe, later a judge of the superior court of Marion county, 
and still a prominent lawyer of the capital city. On March i, 1881, William 
A. Johnson became associated with Colonel Oyler under the firm name of 
Oyler & Johnson, and this relationship continued until the last named went on 
the bench, on January 2, 1893. 

Colonel Oyler was an impetuous, gruflf man, and impatient in the face 
of opposition or attack. As a lawyer he was a ready fighter and preferred 
an open ring and no gloves. While not without weaknesses, he was a loyal 
friend, a public-spirited citizen, a faithful soldier and a just judge. He died 
at his home on the corner of Madison street and Home avenue on September 
6, 1898. 

Judge David D. Banta was elected to the bench of the twenty-eighth 
judicial circuit in 1870, then composed of Johnson, Shelby, Bartholomew and 
Brown counties, court being held in our county on the second Mondays of 
March and September, continuing four weeks. The act of 1873 created the 
sixteenth judicial circuit of Johnson and Shelby counties, with court to be 
held in Johnson county on the first Monday of February, the fourth Monday 
of April, the first Monday of September, and the third Monday in November, 
each term to extend four weeks.^ Jwdge Banta served a full term of six 
years, the first native-born son to fill that high office. 

His long-time friend and law partner. Judge Thomas W. Woollen, 

Digitized by 



wrote a biographical sketch of Judge Banta's life for the "Bench and Bar 
of Indiana," and from this the following facts are gleaned: Jacob Banta 
and his wife, Sarah Demaree Banta, moved from Henry county, Kentucky, 
to Johnson county, Indiana, in the fall of 1832 and began life in the wilder- 
ness. On the 23d day of May, of the following year, their son, David 
Demaree Banta, was born. In that part of Union township where Jacob 
Banta settled there were several families of Presbyterians, and they united 
to form a church society and build a house of worship. Jacob Banta donated 
two acres of ground for the churchyard and graveyard adjoining, and 
"Shiloh church" was built. Here at the same time a school was started in the 
primeval forest. Young David Banta was the first scholar to reach the little 
log school house on the first day of the first school in the settlement, and 
hence onward he attended every school taught there till nearly grown. 
Books were exceedingly scarce in the neighborhood, and this young student's 
efforts to get hold of books for his reading are graphically pictured in his 
history of the pioneer days. 

Banta taught a term or two of school in early manhood, and then went 
to the new state of Iowa for a year of work and wandering about that state. 
Early in 1853 he came back home and entered Franklin College. In the 
autumn of 1853 he became a student at the State University, where he re- 
mained until his graduation both frcyn the academic and law departments in 
1857. While in school he had married Mrs. Melissa E. Perrin, a daughter of 
the Hon. James Riddle, of Covington, Kentucky. In the fall of 1857 he re- 
turned to this county and opened a law office in the city of Franklin. 

For some time prior to the Civil war the law business in Franklin was 
far from lucrative, and Banta gave much time to reading and began to write 
for the newspapers. For two years he had charge of the recorder's office 
and for two years he was prosecuting attorney of the common pleas district. 
He also served as an assessor in the United States revenue dei>artment, was 
school examiner, and a trustee of the Franklin schools. His varied contact 
with the people of the county and his pleasant personality made him many 
friends, and he was successful in his court practice against more eloquent and 
forceful pleaders. Judge Woollen relates an incident of his meeting with 
one of the regular jurors oh the court house steps one day toward the close 
of a term. The juror, after looking furtively around to see that no one was 
in hearing, said : "Stand up to those old lawyers, Davy, stand up to 'em. 
The jury is standing up to you." 

During the first half of the war the courts of Johnson county were com- 
paratively idle, but toward the close business revived and the struggling 

Digitized by 



young lawyer came into his own. The fifteen or twenty years following the 
war were the lawyer's flush times in Indiana; money was plenty, business 
was good, commercial enterprises sprang up like mushrooms, and the dockets 
were crowded with cases. His term on the bench (1870-76) was a busy and 
profitable season for the lawyers, and the Judge gave universal satisfaction 
as a fair-minded, honorable arbiter of the important causes brought before 

When Judge Banta retired from the bench in 1876 he formed a law 
partnership with Judge Woollen, which continued until 1889, when the for- 
mer was made the head of the department of law at the State University, 
and this necessitated his moving to Bloomington. He maintained his position 
as dean of the School of Law in the university until his death, on April 9, 

Judge Banta was a great lover of out-door life. Beginning with 1871, 
when illness compelled him to seek recreation in the open, he seldom failed to 
spend the summer months in the woods of northern Michigan. There he 
hunted, fished and trapped, camping in tents and "roughing it" in genuine 
backwoods style. On his outings he sought the companionship of younger 
men, kindred spirits, and the Judge was at once the oldest and the youngest of 
these merry companions. 

But Judge Banta is perhaps best known as a writer along historical 
lines. He was the author of an "Historical Sketch of Johnson County," pub- 
lished by Beers & Co., of Chicago, in 1881 ; of the local history section in 
the "History of Johnson County," published by Brant & Fuller, of Chicago, 
in 1888; of numerous historical articles published in the Indianapolis News 
and in the local papers, nearly all dealing with incidents of pioneer life. In 
his narratives of early days, he was recognized as an accurate and faithful 
historian, gifted with literary skill and a broad, generous sympathy. 

He was a man of sterling moral qualities, devoted to his family. His 
epitaph,* carved on a stately shaft in Greenlawn cemetery in Franklin, truly 
presents the man : "He was an honest lawyer, and a just judge. A lover of 
books and a writer of ability. He filled many offices of trust faithfully and 
well, and was an abiding friend, a loving husband and father and a Christian 
gentleman. He died in the hope of everlasting life." 

Kendall Moss Hord was born at Maysville, Kentucky, October 20, 
1840. His father was a lawyer, and at the age of nineteen the son entered 
his office as a student. In 1862 he was admitted to the bar and began the 
practice of the law in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. About a year later he came 
to Indianapolis and further prepared himself for practice by study of the 

Digitized by 



Indiana code in the office of his distinguished brother, Oscar B. Hord, who 
was then a law partner of Thomas A. Hendricks and Judge Samuel E. 
Perkins. In the fall of 1863 Hord located at Shelbyville, Indiana, and 
there he has ever since lived. He at once took an active interest in politics 
and has always been a leader in Democratic councils in the state. In 1864 
he was elected prosecuting attorney of the common pleas court of his district, 
and two years later prosecuting attorney of the circuit. In 1872 he was 
again elected to the latter office, and in 1876 was elected judge of the six- 
teenth judicial circuit and was re-elected in 1882. During his twelve years' 
service on the bench of the Johnson circuit court he became personally 
known to almost every citizen of the county, as he had the politician's 
faculty of remembering faces and names, and he took great pleasure in social 
intercourse with the men of the street. He was quick to grasp a point of 
law, had an unusual acquaintance with the code and had precedents at his 
fingers' ends. He was fearless in his decisions and was at once self-reliant 
and approachable. Upon his retirement from the bench he founded a part- 
nership with Edward K. Adams, and the firm of Hord & Adams has for the 
past twenty-five years stood at the head of the legal fraternity in Shelby 

Leonard J. Hackney, on November 17, 1888, took his seat on the bench 
of the sixteenth circuit. He was born at Edinbiirg, in this county, March 29, 
1855. His parents were very poor and the boy had no opportunities of de- 
velopment* in home or school. Most of his time was spent about the livery 
barns and the Edinburg fair grounds. From his work as "swipe" he was 
sometimes taken to ride the running horses of the local sportsmen. Quitting 
the unfavorable environment of his youth at the age of sixteen, he started 
out to make his way in the world. Thenceforward he instinctively, as it 
were, chose a course that led to rank and honor. First as a student in the 
office of Hord and Blair, later in the office of John W. Kern 
at Kokomo, and finally as law clerk in the office of *Baker, 
Hord & Hendricks at Indianapolis, he rapidly progressed in the 
knowledge of the law, and in September, 1876, "hung out his shingle" at 
Shelbyville. Two years later he was elected prosecuting attorney of the six- 
teenth circuit and in 1888, after a contest characterized by unusual feeling, 
succeeded in landing the Democratic nomination for circuit judge. Many 
old-time politicians remember the Fairland convention, and to sortie of the 
friends of Judge Woollen, who was a candidate before the convention, the ' 
name oi one Johnson county delegate will always be anathema. By his 

Digitized by 



treachery the Johnson county candidate lost to the stripling from Shelby- 

After the election Judge Hackney's ability, courtesy and fairness quickly 
won over his political enemies, and no man ever graced our bench who was 
more respected and admired. His record on the circuit bench met with such 
favor that when a vacancy occurred on the supreme bench in 1892 he was 
nominated without opposition and elected. He resigned his circuit judge- 
ship on January 2, 1893, ^^d on the same day qualified for the higher posi- 

On his retirement from the supreme court he was offered the position of 
general counsel for the Big Four Railroad Company, and has since that time 
maintained his office and residence in Cincinnati. 

Upon Judge Hackney's resignation,, William A. Johnson, of Franklin, 
was commissioned judge of the sixteenth circuit and qualified January 3, 
1893. Judge Johnson was born at Edinburg, in Johnson county, June 7. 
1852, and after his school days went to college at Moores Hill and later at 
the State University. He studied law in the office of Nelson Berryman at 
Edinburg, was admitted to the Johnson county bar on September 7, 1874, and 
entered the practice in his home town. In 1881 he came to Franklin and was 
associated in the practice of the law with Colonel Oyler until his elevation 
to the bench. He has held no other public office, save that of an elector in 
the McKinley election. He is still an active member of the Johnson county 
bar, and his record and achievements must be left to later biographers. 

William J. Buckingham was elected judge of the circuit of Johnson 
and Shelby counties at the November election, 1894, and qualified on Novem- 
ber 17th of that, year. He was re-elected in 1900, but the Legislature had in the 
meantime, by the act of 1899 (p^S^ 199)* redistricted the state, constituting 
Brown and Johnson counties the eighth judicial circuit. Buckingham was 
born in Hamilton county. Ohio, December 4, 1849, his parents removing to 
Franklin county in the following year. He attended the common schools 
until the age of fourteen, then attended a graded school at Mt. Carmel for a 
year, and was for three years a student at the Methodist Seminary at Brook- 

He began teaching at the age of eighteen, and many country school 
houses in Johnson county w^ere the scene of his labors for the next ten years. 
In the summer seasons he worked as farm hand and as a common laborer 
about the brick kilns and other factories of Franklin. During this time he 
began to study law, and rarely laid aside his manual labor without a book at 
hand. On August i, 1877, he opened a law office in Franklin and continued 

Digitized by 



in the practice until his death, except for the twelve years of his service on 
the bench. His first law partner was Jacob L. White, with whom he asso- 
ciated in 1880. After Mr. White's death, in 1889, he formed a partnership 
with Edward F. White, which was interrupted by his election to the judge- 

Judge Buckingham on the bench was impartial and fair-minded, but 
was painfully slow in his conduct of trials and in making of issues. He was 
a tireless worker and of indomitable courage, even in the face of mortal 
illness. A victim of diabetes, causing the loss of a limb, he persisted in his 
office work to the day of his death. He died February i, 191 3. 

William Edward Deupree, present judge of the eighth judicial circuit, 
was elected in 1906 and re-elected in 1912. A biographical sketch of Judge 
Deupree is found elsewhere in this volume. 


Indiana's first constitution provided for the election in each county of 
two associate justices, who should sit with the presiding judge of the cir- 
cuit. The Legislature chose the circuit judge, and it was doubtless in the 
minds of the framers of the Constitution that a check ought to be placed on 
the power of the bench over the rights and liberties of the citizen. The law 
did not require that the presiding judge should be a lawyer, nor that the 
associate justices should be laymen, but so it was not only here but every- 
where. The associate justices had the power to overrule the decision of the 
president judge, and were authorized to hear and determine causes in his 
absence. In the early history of the county it happened several times that a 
whole term of court (one week) went by without the appearance of the 
president judge, but a cursory examination of the records at such times in- 
dicates that only routine business was transacted and important cases were 
continued until a meeting of a full bench. 

The associate justices of the Johnson circuit court and their dates of 
service are as follows: Israel Watts, 1823-30; Daniel Boaz, 1823-37; Will- 
iam Keaton, 1830-35; James R. Alexander, 1835-43; Robert Moore, 1837-44; 
James Fletcher, 1843-45: John R. Carver, 1844-51; John Wilson, 1845-51. 
Israel Watts came to Blue River township in 1821 from Ohio. Daniel Boaz, 
a native of Virginia, settled on White river in 1821. William Keaton emi- 
grated from Kentucky to Nineveh township in 1826. Robert Moore, father 
of the Hon. Joseph J. Moore, deceased, settled in Union township in 1829. 
These four, in particular, were strong, sturdy pioneers, fair representatives 

Digitized by 



of that generation of men who left good homes and pleasant surroundings 
in the East and South, lured by the call of the wilderness, and in the primeval 
woods hewed a place for themselves and made it possible for their great- 
grandchildren to enjoy the Johnson county of today. 


The act of February lo, 1831, established a probate court in each 
county to have charge of all matters affecting the estates of deceased per- 
sons or of persons under guardianship. The court sat on the first Mondays 
in January, March, July and September, and the third Mondays in May and 
November. The judge received three dollars a day for time actually en- 

Israel Watts was the first to fill the office, in 1837, giving place to John 
Smiley, the first sheriff of the county. Smiley was succeeded at the end of 
his seven-year term by Bartholomew Applegate for a like period. Peter 
Voris then served until the court was abolished in 1852. 


The code of 1852 created common pleas courts in each county in the 
state. County courts of common pleas had been in existence under territor- 
ial laws imtil 1814, and two counties were given such a court prior to the 
new Constitution. Under the act of 1852, forty-three districts were estab- 
lished, court was to be held four times a year in Johnson county, the length 
of term to be proportionate to the population. In the beginning Johnson 
county constituted a circuit; later Morgan, Shelby, Monroe and Brown 
counties were formed into a circuit. 

The common pleas courts had exclusive jurisdiction of probate matters, 
and, except in cases of libel, slander, breach of marriage contract, actions on 
official bonds and where the title to real estate was in issue, and where the 
amount involved exceeded one thousand dollars, they had concurrent juris- 
diction with the circuit courts. In criminal cases all misdemeanors and cer- 
tain felonies were triable in the common pleas court. The judge was al- 
lowed to practice law, but not in his own court nor in any cause that had been 
adjudicated before him. These courts lasted not quite twenty years, being 
abolished by the act of March 6, 1873. ^^^ circuit court in our county is 
the only court of general jurisdiction. 


Digitized by 



At the October election in 1852 Franklin Hardin was elected the first 
judge of the Johnson court of common pleas. Judge Hardin was born July 
27, 18 10, in Fleming, now Nicholas county, Kentucky. At the age of fifteen 
he and his mother came by way of the Whetzel trail to the White River 
country to visit relatives, and two years later the family settled in this 
county. ^In his Kentucky school days he had studied surveying, and after 
coming to Indiana he began the study of law, teaching school for five years 
as a means of support. In 1836 he was appointed county surveyor by Judge 
Wick and served six years. In 1842 he was elected state representative and 
was re-elected in 1843 ^"d 1844. In the last race John Slater contested the 
nomination with him on the Dempcratic ticket, and being defeated by 
Hardin ran independently. Slater was badly defeated as well in the election. 
Hardin was elected state senator in 1845, serving six years, and was also 
our delegate to the constitutional convention. 

A letter from him to the board of commissioners, bearing date Febru- 
ary 5, 1852, and of record in the auditor's office, reveals the character of the 

'^To the Honorable, the Commissioners of Johnson County, Indiana: 

**Gent. Enclosed you will find an order on the Treasurer of State for 
^124.64. This order was drawn in my favor for that amount as a member 
of the Senate during the sessions of 1850-51 and while I was a member of 
the Constitutional Convention. Although the law entitled me to double pay 
and double mileage, it was never my intention to take either. This money 
was received by taxation from the people of Johnson County. I return it to 
you as their agents to make use thereof as shall best conduce to the public 

''Franklin Hardin.'' 

In his race for judge, his opponent was A. B. punter, and when re- 
elected in 1856, Duane Hicks was the opposing candidate. He was a dele- 
gate to the national convention that nominated Buchanan, and then retired 
from politics, although he was for many years a "wheel-horse" in White 
River township politics. It was his work that brought about the election of 
Isaac M. Thompson, a Republican, for county clerk, and of Thompson's 
successor, his son, Thomas Hardin. Judge Hardin was a writer of ability, 
and was the first citizen of the county to record events and impressions of its 
early history. 

George A. Buskirk, of Monroe county, succeeded Judge Hardin, and in 
1864 he was succeeded by Oliver J. Glessner, of Morgan county, later of 

Digitized by 



Shelby. In 1868, Thomas W. Woollen was elected, but he resigned in 1870, 
to be succeeded by Richard L. Coffey, of Brown county. 

Judge Thomas W. Woollen was not best known or remembered by his 
service as judge of the common pleas court, but the present mention of his 
name suggests the propriety of here introducing a sketch of his career. He 
was born in Dorchester county, Maryland, April 26, 1830, his father being 
a farmer in moderate circumstances. At the age of fifteen, the son went to 
Baltimore to learn the carpenter's trade. His elder brother, William Wesley, 
having come to Madison, Indiana, and finding employment in the clerk's 
office, induced Thomas to follow to the new country, and in 1848 the latter 
came to take his brother's job. He continued as deputy in the clerk's office, 
until 1852, when he became deputy under his brother, William W., who had 
been elected county treasurer, and remained in the treasurer's office two years. 
In the meantime, Judge Woollen had begun the study of the law, had mar- 
ried, and in 1854 entered the arena of politics, as Democratic nominee for 
treasurer of the county. But that was a disastrous year for Democratic 
nominees all over the country. Kinow-Nothingism, which had sprung up in 
a night, won great triumphs that year, and- Woollen met defeat with the rest 
of his party. In 1856, Woollen moved to Vernon, and worked for a short 
time in the clerk's office, but, more ambitious for the future, he soon came to 
Franklin and, with Jeptha D. New, of Vernon, opened an office here for the 
practice of the law. New soon returned to his home at Vernon, and Woollen 
pushed ahead alone, until i860, when for a year he was associated with 
Cyrus F. McNutt, later a prominent lawyer of Terre Haute. • 

He was at once recognized as a leader in politics, and in 1862 was elected 
joint representative to the Legislature from the counties of Johnson and 
Morgan. In 1865 he was made cashier of the First National Bank of 
Franklin, and three years later was made president. At the time of his elec- 
tion to a place at the head of the bank, he was elected common pleas judge of 
the circuit, but the duties proving conflicting, he, at the request of the direct- 
orate of the bank, resigned his judicial office, and gave all his time to banking. 
In the six years of his connection with the banking business, the First 
National was very successful and enjoyed the confidence of the business men 
of the entire county. 

Judge Woollen retired from the bank in 1871 and resumed law practice 
with the Hon. Cas. Byfield, a former partner of Judge Banta, who was then 
on the bench. This relation continued until Mr. Byfield removed to Indi- 
anapolis together with Daniel W. Howe, in 1872. In 1873-74, Judge 
Woollen was for a little more than a year a partner of Hon. Richard M. 

Digitized by 



Johnson and the Hon. Jacob L. White, under the firm name of Woollen^ 
Johnson & White. 

In 1872, Mr. ^Admire, candidate for the lower house from Johnson 
county, refusing to support Horace Greeley for President, the central com- 
mittee displaced him as a candidate, and gave the place on the ticket to Judge 
Woollen. Admire refused to withdraw, and the contest was a lively one, 
but Woollen was easily elected. In the ensuing legislative session, he was 
recognized as the leader of the House on the Democratic side. His record 
there paved the way for his nomination in 1874 for the office of attorney- 
general, but, with the rest of the state ticket, he met defeat. In 1878 he was 
re-nominated for attorney-general, and was successful, serving with distinc- 

From the time Judge Banta left the bench in 1876 until his election as 
dean of the law department of the State University in 1889, Judge Woollen 
and Judge Banta were associated togiether in a successful practice at the bar. 
Their clientele was of the best citizens of the county. For twenty years, one 
or the other of the firm had served the board of commissioners as county 
attorney, and Judge Woollen so cfontinucd until 1896. 

On March 7, 1896, Judge Woollen admitted the writer to a partnership, 
and the firm of Woollen & Branigin continued until Judge Woollen's death 
on February 12, 1898. 

Judge Woollen was built on large lines. His body, brain and soul were 
fitted to the discharge of great public duties, and he performed them well. 
In this, 'as in other days, when an unreasoning public and a scandal-monger- 
ing press are seeking to discredit the legal profession, it is a source of satis- 
faction, for the members of the local bar to reflect upon the character and 
lives of the men who have in other days stood at the forefront in the pro- 
fession here. What other profession or calling has produced men of higher 
character, or wider influence for good in this community than such men as 
Woollen, "Uncle** Gabe Overstreet, A. B. Hunter, David D. Banta, Jacob 
L. White, Edward F. White, John V. Oliver, and numbers of others both 
living and dead. 

Judge Woollen as a lawyer was careful and slow in arriving at a con- 
clusion, but was convincing and steadfast in a position once taken. He was 
dignified and scholarly in his public addresses, never trifling nor attempting 
sharp practices with court or jury. He was even-tempered, slow to anger, 
but when aroused by injustice or wrong, he was impassioned and eloquent. 
In social intercourse, he was gifted with the courteous manners of the South- 
em aristocrat; in business, he was the soul of honor; in his civic relations. 

Digitized by 



always the champion of every clean, progressive and public spirited enter- 
prise; a Christian gentleman, without fear and without reproach. 


After Fabius M. Finch, the first lawyer to locate in Franklin was 
Gilderoy Hicks, who came to the town in 1833. He was bom in Rutland, 
Vermont, January 3, 1804, and was reared on the farm. With his parents, 
he came westward, stopping first in New York state, then in Ohio, and then 
at the village of Patriot, in Switzerland county, Indiana. According to his 
biographer, Judge Banta, Hicks was quite poor when he landed in Franklin 
and for several years was able to make a bare living at the law. Finch had 
already received the patronage and support of Samuel Herriott and other 
leading Whigs, and Hicks, though he was of the same party, was taken up 
by George King and other prominent Democrats, and to the jealous rivalry 
of the two factions most of the profitable law business was due. Hicks soon 
became interested in real estate transactions, joining with Jesse Beard in 
1846 in platting and selling an addition to the town of Franklin, known as 
Hicks & Beard's Addition; in 1850 he joined Prof. A. F. Tilton in platting 
and selling Hicks & Tilton's Addition; in 1850 he and Robert Hamilton platted 
a large tract of land in northeast Franklin, known as Hamilton & Hicks' 
Addition, and three years later he and Hamilton platted another strip just 
north of the last named, known as Hicks and Hamilton's Addi- 
tion. In these additions sometimes referred to as Additions numbered 
Five, Eight, Nine and Ten, respectively. Hicks' name was perpetuated in 
such a manner as to impress the present generation more with his success 
as a land speculator, rather than as a lawyer. Out of the Beard deal Hicks 
cleared two thousand dollars, and from his transactions with Hamilton he 
realized a profit of eleven thousand dollars, a considerable sum measured by 
the standards of the time and the place. 

Gilderoy Hicks was a Whig, but, as we have suggested, his business 
and social relations with leading Democrats were close, and so it came 
about that, in 1846, he was elected to the state Legislature against Dr. James 
Ritchey, Democratic candidate, although in the same year the vote for gov- 
ernor stood : For James Williams, 973 ; for Joseph G. Marshall, 634. The 
vote returned by the canvassing board showed that Dr. Ritchey received 
746 and Hicks 745, but in contest proceedings on a recount the vote showed 
a plurality of 39 in favor of Hicks. At the Democratic county convention 
of 1847 Hicks renounced his former political beliefs and was formally 

Digitized by 



recognized as a Democrat. In 1848 and again in 1849 he represented Jolin- 
son county in the Legislature and in 1851 was elected state senator. When 
the Know-Nothing party arose he joined it and later became a Republican. 
He died December 23, 1857. 

While Judge Finch and Gilderoy Hicks were most active in the practice 
in the thirties and forties other lawyers came to Franklin, some to soon be- 
come disheartened and leave, others to remain. Of the former class were 
one Newman, who settled here in 1839, for a stay of a year and a half, a 
well educated man of good address, but intemperate and not able to gain the 
confidence of the people; Robert McKinney, who came here in 1841, edu- 
cated at Hanover College, and up to that time the best educated lawyer in 
the county, but he was ungainly in appearance and lacked suavity of manner, 
and after a stay of three years he went to Greenwood to teach school, and 
thence to the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois: Royal S. Hicks, 
nephew of Gilderoy Hicks, long a deputy in the clerk's office and at one 
time clerk, admitted to the bar according to Judge Banta in 1843, ^^ ^Y ^^^ 
record shown to have been admitted on March 4, 1850. Hicks practiced 
law but little, was elected state representative in 1852 and after his term of 
office removed to Spencer county. 

John Slater, a Canadian by birth, came to Johnson county in 1840. His 
naturalization papers of record in the clerk's office fix the date of his bfrth as 
March 17, 1815. When the Mexican war broke out he enlisted as a private 
in the Franklin company under the captaincy of David Allen. When Captain 
Allen died in 1847 he was made captain of the company and served with 
distinction. After the war he returned to Franklin and formed a partner- 
ship with Fabius M. Finch, in whose office he had studied law. Finch & 
Slater were of counsel in most of the important litigation in the next six 
years. Judge Banta says of Slater : "He was very tall, was straight as an 
arrow, had dark hair, a thin visage and a rubicund face; was slow and 
deliberate in his motions and grave in demeanor. He was rather fond of 
miscellaneous reading, he had good perceptive faculties and was full of re- 
sources in trying moments. He had a high sense of humor, was rather 
witty and loved argumentation more than anything else in the world. He 
was an indolent man and never burdened himself with the labor of hunting 
for authorities. He trusted to luck in the trial of his cases, saying that 
'Books cramped a man's genius, anyhow,' but he seldom mistook the point 
on which his case rested. He was a store-box lounger. In his day the busi- 
ness men of Franklin were less attentive to their business than now. It 
was not uncommon, at that time, for the merchants and others to spend a 

Digitized by 



good portion of the spring and summer days, when the farmers were too 
busy to come to town, pitching quoits, playing chess and dominoes and 
telling stories. This hum-drum suited John Slater, except that he spent his 
time sitting on store-boxes in shady places, arguing upon law, theology, medi- 
cine, phrenology, mesmerism, Democracy, Muggery, abolitionism, temper- 
ance or any other theme that would furnish him an antagonist; or in telling 
humorous stories to whomsoever would listen. Nor did it make any differ- 
ence to him which side he chose in his arguments. One of his great mis- 
fortunes was his utter lack of convictions. He was an infidel in both politics 
and religion. To him life was a jest and the beliefs of men were mere 
puppets to afford amusement for the hour. No subject was serious enough 
to escape his levity. He affirmed, disputed, laughed at any side of any prop- 
osition as the humor strirck him. This want of sincerity was a serious 
draw-back to his profession. His controversial habit came to be known to 
both judge and jurymen, and how could they know whether he was sincere 
in his arguments or not. Slater carried into politics the same characteristics 
which marred his professional life. He claimed to be a Democrat, and it is 
fair to presume that, if he had any political convictions w^hatever, he was a 
Democrat. But he was more apt to be arrayed against his party than with 
it. He was cursed with a greed for office, and would go into convention as 
a candidate and if defeated, as usually happened, would run the race anyhow. 
In 1856 he succeeded in carrying the nomination for state senator and was 
elected; at the close of his term he secretly left the state arid never returned.'' 
Gabriel Monroe Overstreet and Anderson Barnes Hunter, whose firm 
name of Overstreet & Hunter was a household word in Johnson county for 
nearly half a hundred years, were on the whole the most prominent and in- 
fluential lawyers the county has known. The senior member of the firm 
was bom in Oldham county, Kentucky, May 21, 1819. His father, Samuel 
Overstreet, came to Johnson county in 1834 and settled in the country about 
three miles northeast of Franklin. The son worked on the farm and at- 
tended the neighborhood school until the age of twenty. The father at that 
time made an advancement to each of his children of six hundred dollars, 
and young Overstreet used his share to get an education. He entered the 
Manual Labor Institute of Franklin in the fall of 1839 for a year's pre- 
paratory study, and the next year became a student at the State University. 
His name appears in Commissioners' Report as the first "student for this 
county to the Indiana College in 1841." In 1844 he received his degree of 
Bachelor of Arts, and returned to Franklin and studied law for a year in 
the office of Gilderoy Hicks. In December, 1846, he returned to Blooming- 

Digitized by 



ton for a three months* course in the law department, and was then licensed 
to practice law. 

Judge Banta, in "Bench arid Bar of Indiana," tells of the unusual 
straits in finance experienced by the young student: "At the close of one 
term, after paying all his bills, he had twenty-five cents, and no more, left 
in his pocket with which to defray his expenses home. It was all of forty 
miles from Bloomington to Franklin as the roads ran, but early one summer 
morning he set out on foot, expecting to reach Morgantown in time to spend 
his money for his dinner. But before he came to Morgantown the sun had 
passed the meridian and it was still fifteen miles to Franklin. To the traveler 
it began to look as if his quarter might be of more service in paying for a 
night's lodging than for a cold dinner, and so he kept it and, to use his own 
langfuage, 'polled ahead.' By bed time he was at home and with the money in 
his pocket." 

During his vacation periods Overstreet spent his time in surveying, 
teaching a country school, farm work and clerking in the store of his brother, 
William H. Overstreet. In 1848 he was elected and served for one year as 
prosecuting attorney. On the 21st of February, 1849, the firm of Overstreet 
& Hunter was formed, not to be severed until the death of the junior mem- 
ber in 1891. 

Mr. Hunter, the junior member of the firm, was born in Oldham county, 
Kentucky, on October i, 1826. His father, Ralsamon Hunter, emigrated to 
Johnson county in 1840, locating in Hensley township. Young Hunter was 
of slight build and always suflfered from defective eyesight, but both as boy 
and as man he was a great book-worm, and while he had no collegiate train- 
ing, he far outstripped his better schooled partner in his knowledge of books. 
He never attended but one quarter's school after he came to Johnson county, 
but in his eighteenth year he began teaching, holding his first school in a log 
smoke-house in Burgess Wagoner's door-yard in Nineveh township. "In his 
twentieth year," says Judge Banta, "he conceived the idea of studying law 
and at once made arrangements to that eflfect with Mr. Gilderoy Hicks, of 
Franklin. Their agreement, written by Mr. Hicks, which it was characteristic 
of Mr. Hunter to preserve, is before me. By its terms Hunter was "to 
read and study the profession of the law' and was to have the use of the old 
lawyer's library, 'except that he is to furnish himself with Blackstone and 
Chitty's Pleadings,' and when he was admitted to the bar he was to pay 
Hicks forty dollars. The lawyer was to 'pay reasonable attention' to his 
student, and it may be presumed that he did so, for the instrument has in- 
dorsed upon it two years after its execution a receipt in full." 

Digitized by 



In November, 1847, Hunter entered the senior class of the law depart- 
ment of the State University, and in February following returned to Franklin 
to spend a year partly in study, partly as deputy county treasurer. .He was 
admitted to our bar on March 7, 1848. 

The first record noted by the writer bearing the firm name of Overstreet 
& Hunter bears date July 19, 1849. The court records of the ensuing forty 
years are filled with proceedings in which these two played a part. Judge 
Banta, who knew both so well, has written of the firm : "Rarely to be found 
are two men as well mated as were Overstreet and Hunter. Nature sent them 
out of her workshop so formed that they worked in perfect accord from the 
beginning. They always stood together. Neither ever went into court to 
try a case without the other. Overstreet in his earlier years had been a close 
student, and he was better grounded in the practice of the law than were 
most young men of the day. Later, however, he became less a student than 
was his associate, but being quick of apprehension and possessing a well 
stored and discriminating mind, the slightest hint from his book-reading 
partner was enough for him. The strength of the firm lay in the differences 
between the two men. Nature intended Hunter for the counselor and Over- 
street for the advocate. Overstreet was skillful in the examination of wit- 
nesses. He knew and could accommodate himself to their understandings 
and peculiarities as few men could. As a jury lawyer, in his prime. Over- 
street stood in the front rank. He was earnest, ingenious, plausible, vigor- 
ous and forcible in his arguments. Mr. Hunter had the qualities of mind 
which made him an invaluable aid to the jury lawyer. He was a close and 
painstaking student, and he seldom failed to reach a true conclusion as to the 
law of the case. He was a safe counselor, a good pleader, wrote an excellent 
brief and had the power in a high degree of presenting a legal question to the 
court in a clear, logical and convincing manner." 

Mr. Hunter died August 14, 1891, and after his death Mr. Overstreet 
became associated with his son, Jesse Overstreet, until the latter's election to 
Congress. The firm of Overstreet & Oliver was then formed. After Mr. 
Oliver's death, in 1900, Mr. Overstreet retired from active practice. He died 
February 8, 1907. 

After Overstreet & Hunter the next lawyers to seek admission to the 
bar were Duane Hicks and Jonathan H. Williams, both of whom were ad- 
mitted to the bar at the September term, 1848. The former was a son of 
Gilderoy Hicks, educated in the town schools, and in 1847 a student at 
Franklin College, apprenticed to the saddlery trade and then a law student 
in his father's office. Duane Hicks was not successful as a lawyer, and in 

Digitized by 



1857, owing to ill health, he retired to a small farm near Franklin, but this 
vocation being injurious, he returned to the town and went into the furniture 
business. During the war he enlisted as a cavalryman, but consumption had 
him in its grasp, and he was soon discharged. He died September 28, 1863, 
aged thirty-five. 

Jonathan H. Williams came to Franklin while quite young, learned the 
tailor's trade, volunteered for service in the Mexican war, was county auditor 
in 1851-55, owner of The Franklin Examiner in 1852, and for two years 
district attorney to the common pleas court. Early in the Civil war Williams 
raised a company enrolled as Company I, Eighteenth Regiment, became its 
captain July 15, 1861, was promoted major May 23, 1863, and was killed 
October 19, 1864, at Cedar Creek, Virginia. 

Of the careers of Col. Samuel P. Oyler, admitted to the bar in 185 1, 
and of the Hon. Thomas W. Woollen, admitted in 1856, mention is else- 
where made. Among other lawyers of the fifties were Daniel McKinney, 
reprobate and defaulter; Joseph Thompson, who came here in 1853, ^^^ 
failed to get a foothold and soon went away ; H. H. Hatch, lawyer at Edin- 
burg in 1852; Elijah Banta and G. W. Allison, both admitted at the Decem- 
ber term, 1859, both ex-officers of the county, and, like Royal S. Hicks of an 
earlier time, admitted to the bar more as an expression of friendly regard 
than as evidence of their qualifications as lawyers. 

Charles W. Snow, of Edinburg, was admitted to the Johnson county 
bar in 1855. He was born May 29, 1827,- in Clark county, studied law in 
Colonel Oyler's office; was successful in real estate business at Edinburg, 
and was a careful, though not an eminent lawyer. He died July 24, 1884. 

Richard M. Kelly, of Edinburg, was admitted to practice in 1856. He 
had served as a private in the Mexican war and held the rank of captain in 
the Cjvil w^ar. He was a lawyer of good parts, but dissipated, and in later 
life lost his standing and influence. He died in 1878. 

Hon. Jeptha D. New, in 1856, was a partner of Judge Woollen in the 
practice here, but soon returned to Vernon, where he became prominent in 
the law and in politics. Hon.- Cyrus F. McNutt was admitted to the bar of 
the Johnson circuit court in i860, was for a few months law partner of 
Judge Banta, then of Judge Woollen, but on the death of his wife he went 
to Martinsville, where he was a very successful lawyer. McNutt was pro- 
fessor of law in the State University from 1874-77, and then located at 
Terre Haute. He was elected judge of the superior court of Vigo county 
in 1890, and is now, at the age of seventy-six, a very successful lawyer at 
Los Angeles, California. While Judge McNutt was not long identified with 

Digitized by 



our bar, he was bom and reared in Johnson county, received most of his edu- 
cation in its schools, including one year's study at Franklin College, and the 
county rightly claims an interest in his notable career as lawyer, lecturer, 
judge and writer. 

Daniel Wait Howe, a step-son of Colonel Oyler, was a member of the 
Johnson county bar from the close of the war until 1872. He was prosecut- 
ing attorney in 1869, the same year that Colonel Oyler was on the bench, 
but during the remainder of his stay here he was a partner of his stepn 
father under the firm name of Oyler & Howe. In 1872 Howe and Cas 
Byfield, of the firm of Woollen & Byfield, went to Indianapolis and prac- 
ticed law together in that city until Howe was elected judge of the superior 
court of Marion county. He is still actively engaged in his profession, but 
Mr. Byfield has been dead many years. 

Robert M. Miller, senior member of our bar, was born on a Decatur 
county farrn, near Kingston, April 18, 1845. He is an alumnus of Hanover 
College, class of 1865. He enlisted in the army late in the Civil war, and at 
the close of the war engaged in teaching and in the study of the law. In 
June, 1870, he was admitted to the bar of the Johnson circuit court. He was 
for a time partner of the Hon." W. W. Browning and later of W. C. Sandefur, 
but since 1875 he has been associated with Henry C. Bamett, and the firm of 
Miller & Barnett gives promise of rivaling the firm of Overstreet & Hunter 
in years as well as in influence. 

Mr. Miller has given much of his time to local civic duties, having 
served as a member of the school board and as president of the board of 
trustees of the Franklin Public Library since its founding. He has never 
held an elective office, but has been honored by his party with the nomination 
for circuit judge in 1906, and for judge of the supreme court in 1908, and 
ran far ahead of other candidates. He is today as active and vigorous in 
his profession as any of the younger members of the bar. 

Henry C. Barnett was born on a Johnson county farm December 12, 
1848. After his study in the district school he attended John C. Miller's 
Academy at Nineveh and then taught school for several years. In 1874 he 
studied law in the office of Judge Woollen and was admitted to the bar in 
February, 1875. In the following November he became a partner of R. M. 
Miller, and his work at the bar has been characterized by diligence and at- 
tention to business. In recent years he has shown much strength as an 
advocate, and has always been the mainstay of the firm in the office routine. 
His son. Oral S. Barnett. was admitted into the firm in 191 2. Mr. Barnett 

Digitized by 



IS widely known as a worker in the Christian church, and has been a leader 
in all the anti-saloon fights in the county. 

Gabriel M. Overstreet, Jr., was admitted to the bar of the Johnson 
circuit court in 1869. Very retiring in disposition, he never succeeded in 
practice in the courts, but his influence for good in the community was 
widely felt. He served as city attorney in 1870, 1875, 1878 and 1882, and 
was elected mayor of Franklin in 1888, serving two years. His death 
occurred November 2, 1897. 

Samuel L. Overstreet, son of G. M. Overstreet, Sr., was born July 24, 
1853. He was admitted to practice in our court on the ist day of the 
November term, 1879. He was city attorney of Franklin in 1880 and 1881. 
His career as a lawyer here not being successful, he went to Kansas and 
thence to Oklahoma, and became a leading citizen of the new state and filled 
many high offices with distinction. He died November 13, 1899. 

Among the lawyers of the seventies were William Wilson and Abe 
Deupree, of Edinburg, and Joseph Shuck and Peter A. Canary, of Franklin, 
no one of whom became prominent as lawyers; Nelson Berryman and John 
M. Bailey, of Edinburg, both lawyers of ability, the former moving to Shelby- 
ville, where he succeeded both in law and in politics, the latter going to In- 
dianapolis, where he is yet engaged in the practice. Genio M. Lambertson 
was admitted as a member of our bar February 16, 1874, but soon removed 
to the West, where he was eminently successful. 'Squire William H. Bamett 
was also a lawyer in name, but not in fact. Hon. Luther Short, whose bio- 
graphical sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, was from 1874-79 en- 
gaged in the practice with F. S. Staflf, but Mr. Short was drafted into the 
service of the Democratic party as editor of its local paper and was soon 
obliged to devote all his time to newspaper work. 

Richard M. Johnson was born August 2, 1S45, ^^ Bartholomew county, 
Indiana. His education was obtained in the rural schools, in John C. Miller's 
Academy at Nineveh, and in the Law School of Washington and Lee Uni- 
versity at Lexington, Virginia, from which last named school he graduated 
in 1871. He began the practice of the law at Columbus, Indiana, but re- 
moved to Franklin in 1873, and became a partner of Judge Woollen and 
Jacob L. White. This lasted for a year, when Judge Woollen withdrew 
from the firm. 

Mr. Johnson was a member of the Johnson county bar from 1873 to 
1885, when he accepted an appointment under Cleveland as chief clerk in 
the office of the auditor for the postoffice department. After Cleveland's 

Digitized by 



term expired he held various other positions in the treasury department until 
his death, May 21, 1902. 

William T. Pritchard was born in Nineveh township, in this county, 
September 25, 1847. His education in the district schools was supplemented 
by a year's work in Franklin College. Admitted to the bar in 1875, he 
continued to practice law in this city until his death, on the 6th day of 
September, 1908. His practice in the courts was not extensive, but his office 
practice was remunerative. He had an extensive knowledge of real estate 
law, gained through many years work as attorney for the Mutual Building & 
Loan Association. He was city attorney for six years, 1891-97, and was a 
safe counselor and a man of excellent business judgment. 

Jacob L. White was bom in Johnson county December 15, 1849, the 
ddest son of George B. White, sometime commissioner of the county. His 
education was obtained in the district school, in John C. Miller's Academy at 
Nineveh and in a normal school at Lebanon, Ohio. From 1870-72 he taught 
school, then entered the law office of Woollen & B)rfield as a student for a 
year and a half. 

Upon the removal of Mr. Byfield to Indianapolis, Mr. White became 
^5SOciated with Judge Woollen and Richard M. Johnson in the practice of the 
/aw- for one year, at the end of which time Judge Woollen withdrew from 
the firm. The firm of Johnson & White continued a successful practice until 
J88<z>, when Mr. White became junior member of the firm of Buckingham. & 
iVhiite. In the same year he was elected prosecuting attorney of the circuit. 
and served with credit. In 1886 and again in 1888 he was elected representa- 
ti>^^ to the state Legfislature, and was prominent in the legislative work of 
tlie t:wo sessions. But Mr. White was not a politician, in the usual meaning 
of "tliat term. He was by nature incapacitated to engage in the brawls and 
i^ti-i^es of petty politics, and of him it can in truth be said, "the office 
satagr-]it the man." He was a forcible and vigorous speaker both at the bar and 
ori -tlie hustings, was clean and upright in his living, gentle and kindly in his 
i^^t^r course with his fellows. He succumbed to an attack of typhoid fever, 
and on the 13th day of May, 1889, in ^he fortieth year of his life, passed to 
thie great beyond. 

Frederick S. Staff was bom at Raysville, Henry county, Indiana, April 

8» 1 848. He obtained his later education in Earlham College and in the Law 

ScHool of the University of Michigan, taking his law degree March 29. 

^^71. With the Hon. Luther Short, he went thence to Little Rock, Arkan- 

^^S'. to engage in the practice of the law. In 1874 they removed to Franklin 

w\d began the practice here. Mr. Short soon became interested in the news- 

Digitized by 



paper business, and in 1879 quit his pursuit of the law. Thereafter Mr. 
Staff was associated for several years with Peter M. Dill in the practice at 
the Franklin bar. In 1882, and again in 1884, he was elected prosecuting at- 
torney of the circuit, and was quite successful as state's attorney. He de- 
parted this life February 4, 1894. 

JohnC. McNutt was born in Hensley township, in this county, May 25, 
1863. He had few advantages as a youth, but at the age of seventeen began 
to teach school and rapidly developed as a student. He studied law with his 
uncle, Judge Cyrus F. McNutt, then at Terre Haute, and in March, 1886, 
began the practice of the law in Frapklin, associated with William C, Thomp- 
son. He entered heartily into political life, was elected prosecuting attorney 
in 1888 and was re-elected in 1890. /In March, 1893, he was elected state 
law librarian, serving until 1898. He then removed to Martinsville, where 
he has since enjoyed a lucrative law practice. 

Edward F. White, a younger brother of Jacob L. White, was born 
August 23, 1857. Reared on the farm in Nineveh township, he. like so 
many others, was a pupil in the rural schools and a student in Franklin 
College. He was admitted to the bar on September 30, 1887, and upon the 
death of his brother, Jacob, became junior member of the firm of Bucking- 
ham & White. This relation continued until the former went on the bench, 
when Mr. White took his younger brother, George, into the firm. Ed. White, 
as he was familiarly called, was a man of sterling character, quiet and unas- 
suming in manner, holding a high place at the bar and in the community not by 
reason of unusual ability or high attainments, but because of his absolute 
honesty and rectitude. Stricken by a fatal malady at the age of forty, he 
went bravely on his daily tasks until death called him October 12, 1902. 

John V. Oliver was born at Hopewell, in Johnson county, November 18, 
1870. His early education was obtained in the rural schools, supplemented by 
two years' study in the Franklin high school. He was a student in Franklin 
College for four years, but being offered a position in the office of Over- 
street & Overstreet he left college to take up work in the Indiana Law School 
at Indianapolis. He received his law degree in 1895, and when a year later 
Jesse Overstreet was elected to Congress he was given an interest in the 
firm's business, and in 1897 became junior member of the firm of Overstreet 
& Oliver, a relation which continued until his death, April 27, 1900. John 
Oliver was a young man of great promise, full of energy, alert and keen. 
He had a pleasing personality, was a ready speaker and a careful law^yer. 
While he had never sought office, he was chosen city attorney in 1897, and 
was a leader in local Republican politics. His early and sudden demise was 

Digitized by 



much regretted by the members of the bar, and the memory of his genial 
presence still abides. 

Jesse Overstreet, son of G. M. Overstreet, Sr., was born in the city of 
Franklin, December 14, 1859, educated in the city schools and graduated 
from Franklin College with the class of 1882. He received his training as a 
lawyer with his father's firm, but on the appointment of W. L. Dunlap as 
United States marshal under President Harrison, he entered the political field 
and served as deputy marshal until January, 1891". He then became identified 
with the firm of Overstreet & Hunter in the practice of the law until his 
election to Congress from this, the old fifth district, in 1894. At the next 
election he was elected from the seventh district, then composed of Marion 
and Johnson counties, and took up his residence in the capital city. He con- 
tinued to serve as memb^F'Of Congress from the capital city until 1909.; His 
record in Congress was exceptional, serving as chairman of committee on 
postoffices, and in 1909-1910 was a member of the national monetary com- 
mission and the author of the Gold Standard law passed by Congress in 
1910. His fourteen years of service in Congress was marked by great in- 
dustry and he attained first rank as an authority on monetary science. To his 
zeal and perseverance the capital city is most indebted for the fine federal 
building it now has. His untimely death, on June 3, 1910, was mourned by 
a host of personal and poh'tical friends in this community. 

Among other lawyers of the seventies and eighties, whose careers de- 
serve mention w^ere Peter M. Dill, prosecuting attorney from 1886- 1888, 
later an attorney at the Marion county bar; O. H. P. Ergenbright, sometime 
partner of Mr. Dill; and James H. Dorsey. of Edinburg, well known and 
respected in that vicinity, whose death occurred July 17, 1892. 

Among the lawyers of the past twenty years who have been member 
of our bar and have removed elsewhere, some to take up other callings, the 
following are remembered : 

A. S. Helms, of Edinburg, admitted May 9, 1893, practiced law in that 
town six years; M. L. Herbert, of Edinburg, admitted in 1895, abandoned the 
law in three or four years, and is now a farmer; Rev. C. C. Marshall, ad- 
mitted February 3, 1896, and a year later returned to his work in the minis- 
try, now preaching in Richmond, Kentucky; Elihu F. Barker, admitted 
December 7, 1893, partner of David A. Leach 1895, partner of William 
Eldridge, removed to Walla Walla, Washington, January i, 1906, very suc- 
cessful in practice there; Maurice Douglas, admitted December 3, 1896. 
alumnus in Franklin College, class of '96, now prominent farmer of Flat Rock, 
Shelby county, Indiana; George Young, admitted February 9, 1897, practiced 
law in Greenwood one year, now member of firm of Bailey & Young, of In- 

Digitized by 



dianapolis; Harry M. SchoIIer, admitted February 23, 1899, member of firm 
of Scholler & Neible at Edinburg from 1899, now engaged in the lumber 
business at Roachdale; Nathaniel M. Lacy, admitted May 20, 1899, removed 
to Macon, Missouri, in 1901, and is a successful lawyer in that city; Edward 
L. Middleton, admitted May 20, 1899, alumnus Franklin College, class of '97, 
member of firm of Middleton & Drybread at this bar 1900-1905, now en- 
gaged with the Barr Qay Products Company, of Streator, Illinois, and^ re- 
sides at Evanston, Illinois; Roscoe S. Parr, admitted September 28, 1903, 
member of firm of Oliver & Parr for two years; Carl H. Weyl, admitted 
June 25, 1904, adumnus Franklin College, class of '02, removed to Indian- 
apolis in November, 1907, now member of firm of Weyl & Jewett; Norman 
Pritchard, admitted October 19, 1909, alumnus Franklin College, class of 
'04, since 1912 engaged in practice of the law in Chicago. 

The roster of the present membership of the Johnson county bar now 
engaged in the active practice in this county, is as follows : 

Name. Date of admission. 

Robert M. Miller June, 1870. 

William A. Johnson - September 7, 1874. 

Henry C. Bamett February, 1875. 

John F. Crawford September i, 1890. 

George I. White November 19, 1894. 

Elbert A. McAlpin November 24, 1894. 

Thomas Williams December 14, 1895. 

Douglas Dobbins April 1896. 

Elba L. Branigin April 27, 1896. 

L. Ert. Slack-: September 6, 1897. 

Robert L. Crawford September 8, 1897. 

James M. Robinson September 6, 1898. 

Fred R. Owens September 6, 1898. 

L. E. Ritchey September 13, 189S. 

Walter L. Neible March 4, 1899. 

Will Featherngill May 6, 1899. 

^^remont Miller — — — — December 18, 1899. 

Ivory J. Drybread June 29, 1900. 

William G. Oliver June 6, 1901. 

Oral S. Bamett March 10, 1902. 

Henry E. White May 22, 1906. . 

George S. Staff! , 1913. 

Digitized by 



A glance at the above dates suggests two reflections : First, the period 
between the admission of Mr. Barnett and of George I. White, almost 
twenty years, must have been an unfortunate one for the lawyers, as none 
came here to remain except the few whom death has called; the five-year 
period beginning in 1896 was especially fruitful, more than half of the 
present bar then entering the lists to stay and fight the battle out here. 

Others whose connection with the local bar has been either very brief 
or merely formal are the following: J. T. Arbuckle, of Edinburg, 1892; 
W. H. Hubbard, of Edinburg, 1893; Charles Byfield, 1899; Everett Wright, 
1901; John W. Dixon, 1902; Ammon H. AW)ett, 191 1; Will Eaton, 1905; 
Arta Eaton Zeppenfcld, 1905; C. P. Hanna, 1906; Joel B. Huntington, 
1904, and Senator J. J. Moore, of Trafalgar. 


Daniel B. Wick, 1823; Harvey Gregg, 1824; Calvin Fletcher, 1825; 
James Whitcomb, 1826; William W. Wick, 1829; Hiram Brown, 1831; 
James Gregg, 1832; William Herrod, 1834; William Quarles, 1838; William 
J. Peaslee, 1840; Hugh O'Neal, 1841 ; H. H. Barbour, 1843; Abram Ham- 
mond, 1844; Edward Lander, 1848; John Keacham, 1848; David Wallace, 
1848; G. M. Overstreet, 1849-51; David S. Gooding, 1851-53; Reuben A. 
Riley, 1853-55: D. W. Chipman, 1855-57; Peter S. Kennedy, 1857-63; Will- 
iam P. Fishback, 1863-65 ; Wilham W. Leathers, 1865-67; Joseph S. Miller, 
1867-69; Daniel W. Howe. 1869-70; Nathaniel T. Carr, 1870-71 ; John Mor- 
gan, 1871-72; K. M. Hord, 1872-74; W. Scott Ray, 1874-78; Leonard J. 
Hackney, 1878-80; Jacob L. White, 1880-82; Fred Staff, 1882-86; Peter M. 
Dill, 1886-88; John C. McNutt, 1888-92; Thomas H. Campbell, 1892-96; 
Alonzo Blair, 1896-1900; Fremont Miller, 1900-05: Thomas Williams, 
1905-07; Henry E. White, 1907-14; John P. Wright, 1914- 


Digitized by 




Among the early settlers in the town of Franklin was W. C. Jones, 
afterward a resident of Fairfield, Iowa. A letter from his pen was published 
in the Franklin Democrat in its issue of August 13, 1886, and is given a place 
here by reason of its detailed information as to the citizenship of the town 
of Franklin in the year 1831. 

"The writer first saw Franklin on December 9, 1831, between stmdown 
and dark. The snow was about six inches deep. It was a very small place, 
not over two Jiundred inhabitants. The different offices were held as follows : 
Clerk of the court, Capt. Samuel Herriott; sheriff, John S. Thompson; re- 
corder, William Shafer; coroner, William G. Springer; justices of the peace, 
George W. King and John Foster; constables, John Carter and William 
Springer; postmaster, George King; district judge, B. F. Morris, of Indian- 
apolis; probate judge, Israel Watts; representative in Legislature, Major 
John Smiley. 

"The church organizations were Presbyterian, Mission, Baptist and 
Methodist Episcopal. Rev. David Monfort was minister of the Presb)^erian 
church, Samuel Hardin of the Baptist and EH Farmer of the Methodist. 
There were no church buildings. A log school house and the log court house 
were the only places of preaching. 

"The business of the town was S. Harriott & Brother, who had a store on 
the northwest comer of the square, of a mixed order, dry goods, groceries, 
boots and shoes. Allen & Mayhew kept a store near the southeast comer of 
the square of the same kind ; Simon Moore kept a grocery and bakery on the 
north side of the square. 

"The lawyers were F. M. Finch and William O. Ross. 

"The carpenters were the Shafer brothers, James Frary and Abraham 
Stack. Blacksmiths, Yuly Spurgeon, Samuel Olmstead, James Chenoweth 
and William Webb. • Cabinet-makers, J. K. Bennett and J. R. Carver. Tailors, 
Mrs. Taylor, Charles Griffiths, Samuel Headley and William E. Qark. Boot 
and shoe makers, Samuel Allison, Sr., Isaac Jones and others. Doctors. 
Pierson Murphy, Meshach Davis, James Ritchey and Robert McAuIey, who 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 




Digitized by 



lived four or five miles west of town on a farm. Doctor Murphy and he did 
most of the practice. Uncle Joe Young kept a hotel at the southeast comer of 
the square. Robert Gilchrist had a tan yard in the south part of town near 
Young's creek and Garrett Bergan had one a little north of the town. Mr. 
Bryce was the saddle and harness maker. He died of consumption. Thomas 
Williams was county surveyor and county agent. Town lots could be bought 
for sixteen dollars apiece. The first court house was a log building on the 
Indianapolis street, one lot north of the square. There was a brick court 
house in the center of the square, put up and covered in 1831 and finished 
afterward. A log jail stood just west of the new court house on the square. 
A log school house stood in the northeast part of town. William Shelledy 
was the teacher and also taught vocal music. Alex Wilson, I believe, was a 
turner or wheelwright. Samuel Allison was a young man, so were Charley 
Johnson and John High. William Thompson lived in Franklin during the 
winter of 1832. He was a teamster. I have forgotten the names of a few. 
Horatio and W. C. Jones and families were in Franklin in 1831 and 1832 
during two months. It would have been a small job to have taken the census 
or assessed the property of the town at that time, and the writer did both in 
after years. Uncle GeoTgerKigj^^pu^^ for the old plat of the town. 

The town never impi-oyed. iri^ipjf ^IrsjfiKr^the Madison & Indianapolis rail- 
road reached it. Thej citizens of Franklin township outside of Franklin were 
Peter A. Banta and sons,.ThQmas j\Yj^lJ|iaiTis|and father, Milton Utter, Andrew 
I^wis and John Thompson^ »•. Able: Rasi^ ^Uncle Davy McCaslin and sons, 
Harvey, Newton, William* and^Allai;J?ilexander McCaslin, David McCaslin, 
John and Henry Gratner, John Harter and son, Jacob, William Henry, Flem- 
ing, Seabird and John ; old Father Ashley and son, William ; William Wear, 
Edward Williams, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Adams and sons, William, John, George, 
John and one whose name I have lost; Mr. Hammer and sons, James, John 
and George; John Rogers,, James Lash and sons, Green, William and Sam- 
uel; Uncle Billy Norris, Findley McClintock, John Israel, Sr., and sons, 
John Hutson and Patton; Major John Smiley, who was the first sheriff of 
Johnson coimty, a representative in the Legislature and probate judge, his 
sons, William, Samuel, John and Perry: William Rutherford, Mr. Bryant, 
Frank Devore, Joseph A. Dtmlap (think he was there in 183.1), Joel Mozingo 
and son, Lewis; London Hendricks, Thomas Needham, Esq., and sons, Will- 
iam, Noah, Isaac and Henry; Isaac and William Garison, Mr. Owens and 
sons, Joseph Teatrick, William Williams, Hezekiah and Samuel McKinney, 
Elisha Thompson, Abdalla Thompson, Linsey McKinney, Stephen and Elem- 
uel Tilson, Elisha P. Dungan, Robert McCaslin and sons, Douglas B. Shellady 

Digitized by 



and sons, James and Zebulon ; Wallace Edward Crow, Edward Springer and 
sons, Garret Bergan and sons, Ephraim Harriott, John Wilson, Sr. and Jr., 
old Mr. Alexander and sons, David and George McAlpin, Robert Farms- 
worth, Thomas McDaniel and sons, William and John ; Simon Hunt and son, 
Joseph; Michael Canary, Mr. Freeman, William Burkhart, William Poore, 
James Beedles, Mrs. Elizabeth Beedles, Stephen Railings, Horatio Jones and 
sons, Henry Byers and sons, Isaac and Benjamin ; Mr. Demaree, Dr. Robert 
McAuley, Thomas Mitchell and sons, Aaron, Benjamin and John; John and 
David McCord, Capt. John P. Banta, George and James List, Thomas Hen- 
derson, father and brothers, John Covert and brothers, John, Cornelius, Simcm 
and Daniel ; Andrew Voris and son, Joe ; John Voris, David Banta, S. Magill 
and sons, Samuel and James; Peter Lagrange, Sr. and Jr., Zacariah Rans- 
dall and sons, William, Benjamin and Isaac; Aaron Lagrange, Samuel Van 
Nuys, James Van Nuys and sons, Moses Freeman, James McCaslin, Melvin 
Wheat, James Thompson and Eli Gilchrist. 

"Samuel Herriott was the main business man not only of the town, but 
of the county. He was an active, far-seeing, energetic man and did a great 
deal to help the early settlers of that heavy timber, and wet country, 1^ in- 
dulgence and advice, while he acquired considerable wealth and deserved it. 
There were but few men of better judgment in nearly all kinds of business. I 
have not intended to name anyone outside of Franklin township and know I 
have not named all that were there in 1832. The faces of some I call to mind 
but have lost their names. It is all from recollection, having no record or 
notes to guide me, and I have not lived there since the fall of 1844; and forty- 
two years is a long time in the space that we are allowed to stay here. I 
know but few that I have named that are still living, though there may be 
many. This was written for pastime to while away some of the cold days of 
last winter, not being able to get around to do any business. The early 
settlers were men of small capital generally, and had left the older states to 
better themselves financially, and most of them succeeded. They were a 
social, hospitable class of people from the different states, and a few from 
Europe, but Kentucky had the largest representation. There was no church 
building in the township at that time, unless there was one at Hopewell. Log 
school houses and private dwellings were the places of worship and preaching 
in the open air. Question: Have the people improved in morals and the 
Christian religion while they have been making great improvements in the 
affairs of this life, or have they acted as though the things in this life were to 
be first attended to?" 

Digitized by 





Into this wilderness the first comers were compelled to work their way 
as best they could, but in time roads were opened out by public or private 
enterprise, so that movers could come in without obstruction, safe from the 
mud and swollen streams. For many years the Indianapolis lawyers who 
traveled the circuit consumed an entire day in coming from Indianapolis to 
Franklin to attend the spring term of court, and it was for a long time con- 
sidered a hard day's journey for a resident of the Smock neighborhood to 
ride on horseback to Indianapolis and return. George Kerlin moved to the 
county in the month of September, 1831, and so muddy were the roads at 
that season that his wagons were frequently mired to the axles. Every old 
resident can call to mind the rails and poles lying in the vicinity of the deeper 
mud holes and which had been used as levers to raise wheels from the mire. 
Efforts were made, as the country became older, to make the roads better. 
Rails, poles and not infrequently round logs were used in "cross-laying" the 
roads at the worst places; but when we remember the sparsity of population 
and that road districts were necessarily large, it must be evident that not 
much more could be done than keep the deepest mudholes passable and the 
roads clear of fallen timber. Many of the first settlers were too poor to come 
to the country in wagons, but packed through on horses. Christopher Ladd, 
as we have seen, brought his household stuff on a sled. When John S. Miller 
came up from Jennings county to mark the spot of his future home previous 
to his bringing his wife, he carried out a lot of peach trees on a log sled. 
When George Bridges came he fetched a lot of household stuff on a wooden 
truck wagon. But enough examples might be produced indefinitely showing 
the straits to which the pioneers were put in getting to their destinations. But 
come as they would, bad roads, from mud and water or other causes, ever 
awaited them. Mrs. Catherine Hardin moved to the county in 1827, and the 
following lively sketch from the pen of Judge Franklin Hardin, her son. tells 
the story of the difficulties which met them on the way : 

"In the year 1827 the same widow and her boy, now two years older than 
when they stopped over night with the hospitable Morgan, together with two 
older brothers and sister, constituting a family, left Nicholas county, Ken- 
tucky, with the purpose of making Johnson county, Indiana, their permanent 
home, to which a large part of the original family had emigrated three years 
before. When the emigrants arrived at Shelbyville they were compelled to 
chose whether they would there take the road to Indianapolis and then down 

Digitized by 



the Bluff road or take the road by way of Franklin and the Madison and 
Indianapolis state road as far north as to Whetzel's old trace, and thence 
west to Bell's. The Whetzel trace across Johnson county was impassable by 
reason of the fallen timber across its route, killed by the emigrant wagons 
and teams of former years bruising and cutting the roots. Whetzel's trace 
from Loper's cabin, at Camp creek, to the Madison and Indianapolis state 
road, ceased to be traveled in the year 1826, being superseded by other roads 
and on account of fallen timber across it. It was never laid out by lawful 
authority and was never, repaired. The road by way of Franklin was chosen 
and, the weather being pleasant, the wagon rolled merrily doWn Blue river 
to the point where the road crossed the stream. It was late in the evening 
when a terrible rain storm came on. Not far from the river, in the edge of a 
com field, stood a deserted cabin ; possession of it was taken and preparation 
made to spend the night there. The roof of boards was mostly gone, but 
still enough remained to afford partial protection. During the whole night 
the rain continued to pour down unceasingly. When the morning broke an 
active move was made for Sugar creek, thinking it might yet be possible to 
ford it. Blue river was in our rear, pouring down its angry waters, and Sugar 
creek in front, whose condition was unknown. The road ran by the dwelling 
of John Webb, on the Shelby side of the line. When Sugar creek was 
reached its angry waters were foaming along, dashing out over the low 
grounds and filling up the bayous. It was the first rise after the summer and 
fall were gone. The trees had already cast their leaves and had colored the 
water a dark red brown. To add to our troubles the winds turned and blew 
, from the northwest, bringing some snow. To advance or retreat was equally 
impossible; we were in the midst of the waters and surrounded. A few 
stakes were hastily driven in the ground and bed clothes nailed to them, so as 
to inclose a space ten feet in diameter, and a fire built in the circle, thus 
securing a comfortable place. An elder brother was along, a man of shifts 
and expedients, w^ho had already resided in the county for three years, and 
who had often swam its creeks and rivers. He sent back for an auger to Mr. 
Webb, who kindly lent us the largest he had, three-fourths of an inch in 
diameter, and also the loan of a little unsteady water craft, a mere trough, 
which could carry only three men at a time by one or two lying flat on its 
bottom as ballast. There stood on the bank of the stream a tall hackberry tree, 
dead and recently stripped of its bark by woodcocks in search of worms. In a 
few minutes it was cut down, falling along the shore, and was soon cut up into 
sections of twelve or fourteen feet. These were placed side by side and poles 
laid athwart them and pinned fast by boring through the poles and into the 

Digitized by 



logs. Thus a raft was constructed in an hour sufficient for our purpose. 
'Willis/ said Mr. Webb, to his son, on his return from watching our motions, 
'what are those people doing at the creek?' 'Well,' said Willis, 'they are 
going to cross the creek on a log raft.' 'Nonsense,' said the old gentleman, 
'it can't be done.' The wagon was unloaded in a trice and itself pulled to 
pieces. Then piling on the raft all it would buoy up, two or three hundred 
feet of bed cords was attached to the raft and two men mounted it armed 
with ten- foot poles. The canoe led the way up the shore with the men and 
poles forcing it along, then resting against the shore the boat passed over, and 
now, when across, the work began in earnest. The ropes were pulled over, 
the poles were plied also and the trip was soon made, and again and again 
repeated until all were over. The cattle and horses were forced in and swam 
over. There were some sixty head of sheep to be gotten across some way ; 
they were more troublesome than the rafting. We tried to get them to 
swim; we forced them into the stream, but they would return always to the 
same side. Finally a happy thought came to our relief. The little craft was 
brought forth, and two sheep laid flat in the bottom and then we crossed and 
secured them on the opposite bank. Now began on both sides the most ap- 
pealing bleatings. A little force was all that was necessary to make the flock 
take to the water and swim over. The wagon was soon reloaded and hastily 
driven westward, while the angry creek was at our heels. On the first high 
ground, a quarter of a mile east of William Needham's and George Hunt's 
cross-road, we made our camp for the night. The roads henceforward exceed 
belief, the wagon often sinking to the hubs all the way to Franklin, where the 
streets were no better. At one and a half miles north of Franklin a deserted 
hut was occupied for the night. At Franklin the writer mounted a horse and 
struck out for White River township for assistance, by way of the Indian- 
apolis state road. There was scarcely a dry spot of ground on the whole 
route. At a small stream near David Trout's, ordinarily dry, the water was 
mid-rib to a horse, and other small streams crossed equally deep. Leaving 
the state road when Whetzel's old trace was reached, a long valley, lying north 
and south in its length, was crossed near William Law's, a quarter of a mile in 
width, and which doubtless is the section of some extinct river. The water 
could scarcely be crossed without swimming. A faithful dog had left the 
wagon and followed; he had crossed so many streams and ponds by swim- 
ming that here he could swim no more, and, getting into a dry position, re- 
fused to go further. After riding some distance to try him, the writer re- 
turned and, dragging the dog across the pommel of the saddle, carried him 
to a safe landing beyond. A few hours' riding over drier land brought the 

Digitized by 



end of the journey. Next morning assistance went in haste to the aid of the 

The following sketches relating to the early settlers of the several town- 
ships are copied from the little volume, entitled **A Historical Sketch of John- 
son County/' written by Judge David D. Banta and published by J. H. Beers 
& Company, of Chicago, in 1881. It is now out of print and, outside of a few 
copies in public libraries, the book is rarely seen. The account of the early 
settlers of White River township is from the pen of Judge Franklin Hardin : 


About the year 1814 John Campbell, a young man, left his native state, 
Tennessee, to find a home north of the Ohio. Fate directed his footsteps to 
the vicinity of Waynesville, in that state, where he married Ruth Perkins, 
who was bom near Columbia, South Carolina, but was living at the time 
with an aunt. In 181 7 he moved to Corinersville and in 1820 he moved to the 
New Purchase, reaching Blue River, near the present site of Edinburg, on the 
4th of March of that year. His wife and four sons accompanied him and 
four little girls were left behind, but afterward came through on horseback. 
Benjamin Crews helped him to drive his team and stock through to Blue 
River. The road which they cut out must have been the most primitive of 
paths, for two years after, when Alexander Thompson, Israel Watts and 
William Runnels came over the same general route, they found a wagon road 
to the Flat Rock creek, south of Rushville, but from there on they had to cut 
their own way. 

Campbell settled on a tract of land lying immediately south of the 
present site of Edinburg, while Benjamin Crews, who at once returned to 
Connersville for his own family, stopped on the south side of the covmty line. 
A little cabin was presently erected in the woods, and the venturesome Camp- 
bell set about the preparations for a crop of com and patiently awaited the 
arrival of neighbors. But he did not have to wait very long. The great 
Indian trail led from the Kentucky river through this township and Richard 
Berry had come out upon it and located in the edge of Bartholomew county, 
at the mouth of Sugar creek, and established a ferry. His place was known 
far and near. It is said that a half dozen or more families followed Camp- 
bell into the Blue River woods the same spring, but there is much uncer- 
tainty at this time as to this ; but it is certain that there was, during the year, 
a larger accession to Campbell's settlement. The lands, since incorporated 
into Blue River township, were surveyed in August of that year by John Hen- 

Digitized by 



dricks, a govemmait surveyor, and on the 4th day of October these lands 
were first exposed for sale at the land office in Brookville. That day three 
purchases were made of Blue River lands, and the first in the county, by 
James Jacobs, William W. Robinson and John Campbell (of Sugar Creek), 
while on the day following nine purchases were made by the following per- 
sons: Zachariah Sparks, John Campbell (the first settler), Alexander 
Thompson, Thomas Ralston, Amos Durbin, Jonathan Lyon, Isaac Wilson, 
Robert Wilson and Francis Brock. There were thirty-nine entries in all 
made before the close of the year, making a total of four thousand four hun- 
dred acres, and of these entries eighteen were of quarter sections and the 
remainder of eighty-acre tracts. 

In so far as is now known eighteen families moved into the new settle- 
ment in 1820, and of these Henry Cutsinger, Simon Shaffer, Jesse Dawson, 
Zachariah Sparks, Elias Brock and Joseph Townsend were Kentuckians; 
William Williams and, as already said, John Campbell were Tennesseeans ; 
Amos Durbin was from Virginia; John A. Mow and Joshua Palmer from 
Ohio; Isaac Marshall and John Wheeler from North Carolina; Samuel Her- 
riott from Pennsylvania, while Louis Bishop, Thomas Ralston and Richard 
Connor's natal places are unknown. 

The new settlement was auspiciously begun and had a remarkable growth 
for its day. The hardships that usually attended the backwoodsmen of their 
times fell to their lot, and it is remembered that death made an inroad into 
the settlement, carrying off that fall, first the wife of Joseph Townsend and 
next, Richard Connor. When John Williams came to Bartholomew county, 
in September, 1820, with his father, he visited Campbell and at that time 
Joseph Townsend was living in a cabin next the hill whereon stands John 
Thompson's residence. When his wife died Allen Williams knocked the back 
out of his kitchen cupboard and, with the lumber thus obtained, made her a 
coffin. She and also Richard Connor lie buried in the hill west of town, but 
their immediate places of sepulture are forgotten. Mrs. Townsend was, it is 
believed, the first white person who died within the township and also in the 

The second year of the settlement twenty-seven families are known to 
have moved in. John Adams came from Kentucky and moved to the north 
end of the township and founded the Adams neighborhood. Richard Foster 
and John and William, his brothers, Patrick Adams, Patrick Cowan, Arthur 
Robinson, Curtis Pritchard, David Webb, William R. Hensley, William C. 
Robinson, James Farrell, John Adams, John P. Bamett, Jacob Cutsinger, 
Isaac Harvey (a Baptist preacher), Lewis Hays, William Rutherford, Jeffer- 

Digitized by 



son D. Jones, Thomas Russell and Samuel Aldridge, all Kentuckians; Isaac 
Collier, Israel Watts and Jonathan Hougham, Ohioans; Alexander Thomp- 
son, from Virginia; Jesse Wells and Thomas Doan, from North Carolina, 
and William Runnells, from Tennessee, moved in. By the close of this year 
the lands contiguous to Blue river were taken up, and a line of settlement 
extended nearly across the south side of the township, while John Campbell, 
an Irishman, had laid the foundation of a settlement at the mouth of Sugar 
creek, and Louis Hays and William Rutherford had joined John Adams' 
settlement higher up the creek. 

In 1822 fourteen families moved in. Of these Abie Webb, James Con- 
nor, Hezekiah Davison, William Hunt, James M. Daniels, John Shipp, Will- 
iam Bamett, David Durbin, Hiram Aldridge and Thomas Russell were from 
Kentucky. Charles Martin and Samuel Umpstead were from Ohio, and it is 
not ascertained whence came Baker Wells and Samuel Johnson, who came in 
this year. In 1823 William Freeman moved from Bartholomew county into 
the township, and Richard Shipp and John Hendrickson also moved in. All 
these were Kentucky bom. By the close of 1823 there were at least sixty- 
three families living in the township. 

It is uncertain when the town of Edinburg was laid out, but frbm all 
the evidence that has been adduced it would seem that it could not have been 
later than in the spring of 1822. It is hard to reconcile this date with certain 
records in existence, but so many of the old men during later years have as- 
serted their confidence in a date not later than the one given that it would 
seem safe to follow it. Louis Bishop and Alexander Thompson were the 
projectors of the place. They early saw that a town would be a necessity to 
the country which was destined to grow up about them within a few years 
and determined that the necessity should be supplied on the banks of the Blue 
river. This was the center of a thriving settlement. The lands surrounding 
it for many miles were of the finest quality, and the "rapids" in Blue river 
offered a splendid mill site and so the town was located. 

If the date of its location is uncertain, the origin of the name is equally 
so. One account attributes it to a circumstance too trifling for historical 
belief. It is said that, on the evening of the day the new town was platted, 
Edward Adams, a brother-in-law of Bishop, "a good easy soul," familiarly 
known by the diminutive **Eddie/' having l>een encouraged by a too frequent 
use of the bottle to demand some recognition, asked that the new town be 
named Eddiesburg, and that, in a short time, it took on the statelier name of 
Eldinburg. That it was understood at the time by many that the name was 
in some manner connected with Edward Adams, there can be no doubt, but 

Digitized by 



there is other, and I think better, authority that the name was given by 
Alexander Thompson, who was a Scotchman by birth, in memory of the 
capital of his native country. In the first records w^hich we have the name is 
spelled with over-exactness, "Edinburg,'* an orthography which scarcely 
could have grown out of Edinburg in its transition state to Edinburg. 

The new town had a recognition from the start. Booth & Newby, mer- 
chants in Salem, Indiana, determined on opening a stock of goods suitable 
to the wants of the backwoods, at some point in the Blue River country, and 
selected Edinburg as the place. Alexander Thompson was accordingly em- 
ployed to build them a suitable storeroom for the purpose, which he did in 
1822. This house was built about eighty feet south of Main cross, on Main 
street, and in the fall of that year William R. Hensley, agent for Booth & 
Newby, brought a boat load of goods up the Blue river to the mouth of Sugar 
creek, and "on a Sunday the boys" went down and carried his goods up to the 
store on their shoulders. This was the first stock of goods exposed for sale in 
both township and county. 

While Thompson was building the new stone house Isaac Collier, Will- 
iam Hunt and Patrick Cowen were erecting dwelling houses on Main street 
and John Adams one on Main street cross. Collier soon after set up a black- 
smith shop, the first in the county, and Louis Bishop opened the first tavern. 

"In the fall of 1822," says Ambrose Barnett, "the place contained four 
families, whose log cabins were scattered over a considerable tract of ground 
in the midst of the native forest trees." 

In May, 1826, Thomas Carter was licensed by the board of justices of 
the county to keep a tavern, and the next March Patrick Cowen received the 
like privilege, and in May following Louis Bishop again took out a license. 
About this time one David Stip also appears as a tavern keeper. 

How long Booth & Newby continued in the mercantile business is un- 
certain, but in July, 1826, Gwin & Washburn and also Israel Watts went into 
the business, and in July, 1828, George B. Holland likewise. 

In 1832 Austin Shipp and Timothy Threlkeld were licensed to vend 
merchandise, and the same year Simon Abbott, in addition to the right to 
retail "foreign and domestic goods," added "spirituous liquors" also. 

The location of Edinburg was unfavorable to good order during the 
early years of its existence. It soon became a common rendezvous for the 
hard drinking and evil disposed from all the surrounding country, and it 
was an easy matter for the law breakers to mount their horses and flee across 
the line into Bartholomew or Shelby counties and then defy the pursuing 
constables. Some time in 1830 a man by the name of Jesse Cole was killed in 

Digitized by 



a drunken row in the town, and not long afterwards Lunsford Jones and John 
Frazier had a quarrel while in their cups, but renewing their friendship the 
same day, set out for their homes after nightfall. Both were intoxicated and, 
while crossing the river, Jones lost his seat and was drowned, while his horse 
went home. Frazier was suspected of having somehow brought about Jones' 
death, but the fact was never proven against him. Frazier was a desperado 
of the worst type. In 1838 he and one Valentine Lane had a difficulty at 
Foster's Mill, when Lane chastised him personally. Thereupon Frazier left 
and, arming himself, returned and, renewing the fight, he stabbed his antago- 
nist till he died. 

In August, 1840, Frazier maltreated his wife so that she was compelled 
to leave him and swear out a peace warrant against him. Being arrested and 
on his way to Edinburg he passed the house of Allen Stafford, where his wife 
was staying, and obtained leave to stop and talk with her. On stepping out 
of the door, as he requested her to do, he struck her a blow with his knife, 
inflicting a wound from which she ultimately died. Then he stabbed himself, 
but not fatally. Being put to his trial, he was sentenced to fourteen years in 
the penitentiary and Isaac Jones, who was then sheriff, and his brother, 
William C. Jones, and Elias Voris conducted him to Jeffersonville, where he, 
too, soon died. On their way home they passed through Salem and there 
they got into a quarrel with a party of strangers, when Voris, who was a very 
powerful man, whipped the crowd. Warrants were then put out by the civil 
authorities for the arrest of Voris and the Jones', when they fled the place, but 
by some means Voris became separated from his companions. The strangers 
pursued and overtook him and most foully murdered him in the woods, sever- 
ing his head from his body. They in turn made their escape. 

In 1827, James Thompson availed himself of the splendid water power 
on Blue river, opposite the town, and took steps to secure the right of erect- 
ing a mill at that place. A jury was summoned, under the law, one of whom, 
Thomas Barnett, was still living in 1881. The condemnation was made, and 
Thompson built a grist and saw mill. This enterprise was not only an im- 
mediate benefit to the place, but in the hands of the Thompson family has ever 
since been a source of strength to the town. 

Other mills were afterward built. Both Blue river and Sugar creek 
are well adapted to mill purposes in the township. 


Nineveh township is one of the oldest townships in the county, having 
been organized the same sprijig the county government was inaugurated. 

Digitized by 



In the spring of 182 1, Amos Durbin, who was from Kentucky, settled 
over on the east side, and thus became the pioneer settler of the township. 

In the fall of the same year, Robert Worl, an Ohio man, floated down 
the Ohio river to some point on the Indiana side and thence picked his way 
to the New Purchase, mostly by Indian trace. Reaching the Blue River set- 
tlement, he journeyed on and arrived on the Nineveh in the month of Septem- 
ber, and built him a cabin about a mile east of the present town of Williams- 

In 1823, eleven new men are known to have come in. On the 15th of 
March, Joab Woodruff and William Strain came from Ohio, and as they 
passed through the Blue River settlement, their old neighbor, Ben Crews, 
picked up and came over with them. Henry Burkhart and George, his 
brother, from Kentucky, settled in the north side, on the Indian trail, and left 
the Burkhart name in Burkhart's creek. Adam Lash is set down as coming 
that year, and also Daniel and Henry Musselman, and James Dunn, from 
Kentucky, and David Trout, frc«n Virginia, and John S. Miller, from North 

The next year, James and William Gillaspy, William Spears, Curtis 
Pritchard, Louis Pritchard and Richard Perry, Kentuckians, and Jeremiah 
Dunham, an Ohioan, and Elijah DeHart, from North Carolina, moved in. 

In 1824, Robert Moore and Aaron Dunham, of Ohio, arrived, and Isaac 
Walker, Perry Bailey, George Bailey, Joseph Thompson and Robert Forsyth, 
all from Kentucky. Forsyth was delayed at the driftwood by high water, 
but when he did cross, Mrs. Nancy Forsyth, his wife mounted upon the back 
of a horse, with a bag of meal under her, rode out to their new home, carrying 
her child, James P., who was two years old, in her arms, and he carried a 
house-cat in his. It was late when they reached their place, but John S. 
Miller, Henry Musselman and some others "whirled in" and helped clear four 
acres of corn ground, on which a fair crop of corn was raised, and the bean 
vines grew so luxuriantly that they mounted into the lower branches of the 

The year before that, David Trout was prostrated by a long and severe 
sickness, but his neighbors did not neglect him. On stated days they met at 
his place, and his com was planted and plowed with as much care as any man's 
in the neighborhood. 

. In 1825, Daniel Pritchard, John Parkhurst, William Irving and Amos 
Mitchd, from Kentucky, and Jesse Young, from Ohio, moved in, and, in the 
year foDowing, came Thomas Elliott, Prettyman Burton, William Keaton, 
Qark Tucker, Daniel Hotto, John Hall, John Elliott, all Kentuckians, and 

Digitized by 



Thomas Griffith, Samuel Griffith, Richard Wheeler, James McKane, James 
and John Wylie, Ohioans. 

In 1827, of those who came, John Kindle, Aaron Burget and the Calvins 
(James, Luke, Thomas and Hiram), Milton McQuade, John Dodd, Robert 
. Works and, as is supposed, George Harger and Jeremiah Hibbs, are all be- 
lieved to have been from Ohio, and James Mullikin, David Forsyth and James 
Hughes, from Kentucky. The next year, Joseph Featherngill, Gabriel Givens, 
Mrs. Sarah Mathes and James White came, followed by Hume Sturgeon, in 

1829, and by Walter Black, David Dunham, John Wilks, Aaron Burget, in 

1830. Sturgeon was from Kentucky, Mrs. Mathes from Virginia, and the 
others from Ohio, save Black, whose native place is uncertain. 

It is not pretended that these were all the men who moved into Nineveh 
up to the last year mentioned, nor is it claimed that the true date is given in 
every instance. The list and dates are only approximately correct. 

The first election held in Nineveh township was at the house of John 
Henry, in August, 1823, and nineteen votes were polled, but as all the territory 
comprised in the present townships of Franklin, Union and Hensley, as well 
as Nineveh proper, comprised Nineveh then, and as some voters came from 
Sugar Creek to vote, these nineteen votes do not measure the strength of 
Nineveh at that time. On the 25th of September, 1825, an election was held 
for the election of a justice, at the house of Daniel Musselman, and thirty- 
nine votes were cast. Of these, David Durbin received twenty, and Jesse 
Young nineteen. On the 12th of November following, another election for 
justice was held at the same place, when thirty-one votes were cast, Joab 
Woodruff receiving twenty- four, and Edward Ware seven. In 1827, at an 
election for justice, Curtis Pritchard and Amos Durbin were voted for, and 
each received nineteen votes, and thereupon lots were cast, and Pritchard 
declared elected. In 1824, the like thing happened in White River township, 
Archibald Glenn and Nathaniel Bell each receiving seventeen votes for justice. 
Lots were cast and Glenn won. 

The early residents of Nineveh were fairly divided between Ohio and 
Kentucky men. While the Kentuckians constituted a majority in nearly 
€very township, there were but few Ohioans in any one save Nineveh. 

Williamsburg, laid out by Daniel Musselman, was, during its infancy, a 
rival of Edinburg. Joab Woodruff brought an assortment of dry goods to 
his house and sold them at an early date in the township's history, and in 
1830 the record of the board of justices shows that Daniel Musselman was 
licensed to vend foreign and domestic groceries, and that Woodruff held a 
license to sell at the same time. In 1831, Henry Musselman procured a 

Digitized by 



license to keep a grocery, and in the next year A. H. Scroggins & Company 
went into the mercantile business in the place. Glancing along the pages of 
the old records, the further fact is disclosed that, in 1838, Thomas Mullikin 
was licensed to vend "domestic and foreign merchandise," and, in the year 
following, James Mills obtained a permit to sell whisky and dry goods. 

The first church organized in the township was at the house of Daniel 
Musselman, by Elder Mordecai Cole, a Baptist preacher, and it was named the 
"Nineveh Church." 

It is probable that Aaron Dunham taught the first school, soon after he 
came, in 1824. In 1826, Benjamin Bailey was teaching in a cabin with an 
earthen floor, near the Vickerman place. 

In 1 83 1, William Vickerman moved in and built the first wool-carding 
factory that was successfully run in the county. 

The first death in the township was a little child of Daniel Musselman, 
that was burned to death. Shortly after, James Dunn and Nancy Pritchard 
both died ; and in twenty-two months after the arrival of Thomas Griffith, on 
the 2ist of October, 1826, he died, leaving a widow with a family of little 
children. Griffith was the first blacksmith in the township. 

About half the original settlers of Nineveh township were Ohioans; the 
others were mainly Kentuckians. Nineveh was the Ohio settlement of the 


In 1822, in the first half of the year, as is supposed, William Burkhart, 
from Green county, Kentucky, and Levi Moore, built the first cabins in Frank- 
lin township. They came by way of the Indian trail, and Burkhart built his 
cabin on the banks of the little creek, where Michael Canary afterward lived 
and died, while Moore went out as far as the Big Spring, and then turning to 
the east, located at the knoll, a few hundred yards west of Young's creek, 
where John McCaslin's house stands. Moore afterward moved to the farm 
now owned by Aaron Lagrange and there built a mill, the third built in the 
township; but he moved to a newer country within a few years, leaving an 
unsavory reputation behind him. Moore's creek commemorates his name. 

In the spring of 1823, George King. Simon Covert and David W. Mc- 
Caslin, accompanied by Isaac Voris, a young man, moved from Kentucky 
and began clearings near the mouth of Camp creek, or, as it afterward came to 
be known. Covert's creek, after which, it took its present name of Hurricane. 
There was no road cut out beyond John Adam's place, now Amity, and the 
movers, being joined by Robert Gilchrist, Pushed" the way out to their future 

Digitized by 



horae. On the afternoon of a day in March they reached Camp creek, but, 
finding the stream high and not knowing the fords, they encamped for the 
night on. the high ground where stand the college buildings. All returned 
to Adams, save Covert and Voris, who, when night came, milked the cows, 
milking into and drinking out of the cow bells that had been brought for use 
in the range. The next morning, the pilgrims crossed over the turbulent 
stream and at once began the building of King's cabin on a knoll west of the 
present crossing of the Cincinnati & Martinsville railroad and JeflFerson 
street. That being up, McCaslin's was built on the south side of Young's 
creek, and Covert's on the east side of the Hurricane. 

During the following summer Franklin was laid out and made ready for 
settlers ; but it was not until the spring after that a house was built within the 
plat. At that time, a man named Kelly put up a house on the west side of the 
square and kept a few articles in the grocery line for sale, chief among which 
seems to have been an odd sort of beer and cakes. He was for some reason 
unable to get whiskey, and at the end of a year he left and went to Indian- 

In the summer of 1824, William Shafer built the court house, and in the 
fall he built himself a house on the southeast corner of the square. The same 
year, John Smiley put up a log house of two stories, on the northwest comer 
of Main and Jefferson streets, where Wood's drug store now is, and, moving 
into it the same year, he hung out a "tavern sign.'' At the same time, a cabin 
was put up adjoining Smiley's house on the west, and into this Daniel Taylor, 
from Cincinnati, brought a stock of dry goods and groceries. Edward 
Springer, that year or the next, built and operated the first smithy in the 
township on the west side of the square. In 1825 ^^ 1826, Joseph Young 
and Samuel Herriott, partners in business, erected the first frame buifding 
in the town and township, near to Shafer's house, and in the south side a 
tavern was opened under the immediate supervision of Young, and in the 
north side was opened a general store under the care of Herriott. In 1828, 
George King built a brick house on Main street, in which he lived imtil his 
death, in 1869. The somewhat elaborate beadwork on the door and window 
casing, which many will remember, was cut out by the carpenters with pocket- 
knives. Among the early settlers was Thomas Williams, who came in 1823 
or 1824; John K. Powell, a hatter; Caleb Vannoy, a tanner; Pierson Murphy 
and James Ritchcy, physicians ; Fabius M. Finch and Gilderoy Hicks, lawyers ; 
Samuel Headley and Samuel Lambcrson, tailors. 

In 1825 Moses Freeman, Daniel Covert, Joseph Voris, Thomas Hender- 
son and, probably, John Davis, moved into and not far from the Covert neigh- 

Digitized by 



borhood, at the Big Spring, near Hopewell. Henry Byers settled near the 
west side, and about the same time Joseph Hunt came in by Burkhart's, and 
Isaac Becson over on Sugar creek. John Smiley, in 1822, had settled on thie 
same creek and had built a mill. John Mozingo and Squire Hendricks were 
living on the east side, as heretofore stated. 

The same year Franklin was located, Cyrus Whetzel ran a line and 
marked it, with a compass, through the woods from the Bluffs to the new 
town, and in 1824 the Bhiff road was cot out, and this afforded movers easy 
access to the northwest parts of the township. In 1825, Isaac Vannuys, 
Stephen Luyster and David Banta moved in, and the year after Petef La- 
grange and his sons, Peter D. and Aaron, all then settled in what is now 
known as the Hopewell neighborhood. Following at intervals, during the 
next few years, we find coming into the same vicinity John Voris, Simon 
Vanarsdall, Zachariah Ransdall, Cornelius Covert, Melvin Wheat, John P. 
Banta, John Bergen, Peter Demaree, Samuel Vannuys, Theodore List, 
Stephen Whitenack, Joseph Combs, Thomas Roberts and Peter Banta. On 
the south and west sides and southwest comer of the township, we find that 
Thomas Mitchell, Michael Canary, Robert McAuley, Jacob Demaree, Ebenezer 
Perry, James Forsyth came in quite early, and then, passing up the south side, 
are the names of Major Townsend, John D. Mitchell, John Gratner, Joseph 
Ashley, John Harter, Alexander McCaslin, James McCaslin, John C. Good- 
man, John Gribben and Jonathan Williams. In the central and northern parts 
were William Magill, Garrett Bergen, Peter A. Banta, Milton Utter, the 
Whitesides brothers (Henry, James, John and William), and Stephen and 
Lemuel Tilson, Thomas J. Mitchel, John Brown, Elisha Dungan, Edward 
Crow, David McCaslin, Harvey McCaslin, Robert Jeffrey, John Herriott, 
Middleton Waldren, Therrett Devore, Travis Burnett, David Berry, Jesse 
Williams, Simon Moore, John High, Samuel Overstreet, John Wilson, David, 
Thomas and George Alexander, William and Samuel Allison and John Wil- 
son ; while upon the east side, in addition to those mentioned previously, may 
be named Landen Hendricks, William Garrison, Joseph Tetrick, Jesse Beard, 
Thomas Needham, Jacob Fisher, Samuel Owens, David Wiles and J. C. 

The next mill built in the township, after Smiley 's, was by John Harter, 
on Young's creek, two miles below Franklin. Harter bought his mill-irons 
from John Smiley and agreed to pay him in corn, two bushels being due on 
Wednesday of every other week until paid for; and in this connection, it may 
be stated as an evidence of the straits to which men were put in those days, 


Digitized by 



that Jefferson D. Jones had a supply of bacon, but no meal, while Harter had 
the meal but no bacon, and that they made an arrangement whereby Jones 
tbok a half-bushel of meal every other week, and gave Harter of his bacon, 
in payment therefor at the same intervals of time. 

About 1827, Levi Moore got a little mill in operation on Young's creek, 
at the mouth of Moore's creek, and, still later, Cornelius Covert built a mill 
on the same stream higher up. 

In 1826, a little child of Joseph Young died, the first in the township. 
In 1829, a school was taught in the log court house. John Tracey, of Plea- 
sant township, was a pupil, walking not less than five miles night and morning. 
James Graham was the teacher. About 1825, Thomas Williams married, 
as is now believed, the first couple in the township. Their names have not 
been remembered, but the groom, having no money to pay the Squire, 
proffered that he would make rails and his wife work in the kitchen for 
Williams in lieu of money. 


White River township originally extended across the north part of John- 
son county, but is now restricted to its northwest corner. It includes forty- 
eight sections of land. Its length, which lies north and south, is eight miles 
and its breadth six. It is situated in the basin of the White river, and about 
one thousand acres lie on the west bank of that stream. Three or four sec- 
tions in the southeast corner are included in the valley of Young's creek. 
The valley of White river, through and over the gravelly and sandy stratum 
of the drift, is about twenty miles wide, and has a depth of about sixty or 
seventy feet. There are only two terraces to the river, the nearer being about 
twelve feet above low water and a mile in width, and overflows to a depth of 
about three feet. The farther is still fifteen feet higher and of equal breadth. 
With this terrace the level portions of the valley cease and are succeeded north 
of the bluffs by sandy and gravelly ridges a mile or more in width, and which 
extend for long distances parallel with the river, having an elevation often 
equal to the greatest depth of the valley, proving to any observer that they 
were formed by moving waters confined to the valley of the river, and which 
were then equally extensive with its whole width and depth. Across this in- 
clined plane, with its great fall throughout the whole township, except half 
a dozen sections in the southeast corner, situate in the basin of Young's 
creek, Pleasant run, Honey creek, Bluff creek, Crooked creek and other smaller 
streams rush down to the river, thus giving an unsurpassed drainage to the 

Digitized by 



township: The township has a greater variety of soils than any other in the 
township, and of unequaled productiveness. When Whetzel, in cutting his 
trace with the purpose of going still further, looked down into the rich valley 
of the White river, he said, "This is good enough for me,'' and there erected 
a permanent camp. And those who have resided in White River township 
and, having left in search of other eligible points, have souglit in vain for its 
equal. Its rich, dry soil attracted emigration at a very early day, which con- 
tinued to pour in until the township was soon densely populated. The greater 
part of the emigrants were from the Southern states, three-fourths at least 
from Virginia, a few from Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio. The emi- 
grants were men of small means, seldom able to enter more than eighty acres 
of land, and dependent entirely upon personal efforts for the improvement 
of their lands and for the subsistence of themselves and families. And this 
one feature, that is, the slendemess of the means of the emigrants — although 
at first thought it seems paradoxical — accounts for the rapid advancement of 
Indiana more than any other. There were no idlers. The men worked, the 
women worked, the children worked. 

The first emigrants were a body of select men, who came to a county 
covered with a heavy forest, to better their condition by conquering its wild- 
ness and developing its agricultural resources. Their capital was in their 
ability to perform hard service, and in a will and purpose to do so. The 
heavy forest, with its tall trees and with its dense shrubbery, was sufficient 
to deter irresolute men from undertaking so arduous a task as its removal, 
and, except a few wandering hunters, there were none here. Every man 
needed assistance, and every man stood ready to render it. If an emigrant 
but cut a new road through the brushwood, and erected a camp, a half dozen 
men would find it out and be there in twenty-four hours, not by invitation, but 
voluntarily to assist him in building a cabin. Often a cabin was built in a 
single day, and covered in, and the family housed in safety and comfort at 
night beneath its roof. If food was needed by the new-comer, that was car- 
ried along, and often half the meal for those assisting was supplied by the 
neighbors, and the good old kind-hearted mothers went along to help prepare 
it. The furniture of the cabin consisted often of a fixed bedstead in each of 
the four angles. One bed-post only was used, set up four and one-half feet 
from one wall, and six and one-half from the other, with two large holes bored 
into it two feet from the floor. Then two holes were bored into the walls, and 
into these were inserted, smoothed with a bowie knife, two poles, four and 
one-half feet, the width, and six and one-half feet, the length of the frame 
work. On the long way, rails were laid, and into the space between the logs 

Digitized by 



of the wall were inserted the usual split boards, and thus this indispensable 
piece of furniture was completed. A man could make one in an hour. They 
answered every purpose with the finest bedstead, except they were not suffi- 
ciently stable for restless sleepers, who often found themselves descending 
through misplaced boards to the floor. 

In every cabin, suspended to the joists, hung a frame-work of nicely 
smoothed poles a foot or two apart. On these, in the fall season, hung, in thin 
sections to dry for Icmg keeping, the rich, golden pumpkin. 

But often the emigrant did not wait to build a cabin, but if he came in 
the spring, he built a camp, leaving the cabin to be erected during the summer 
and fall. The first indispensable object was bread, and to reach it required 
long days of patient labor. But the pioneer came fully advised of what was 
to be met and overcome. His bread was in the ground beneath the forest 
trees. He did not sit down and repine, or reload his wagon and return 
whence he came. He was a man. The first thing was to remove the small 
undergrowth. It was the universal practice to cut down everything "eighteen 
inches and under." When felled it was cut up into sections twelve to fifteen 
fefet in length, and the brush piled around larger trees for the purpose of kill- 
ing them by burning. Ten to fifteen settlers had an understanding that they 
would act together and assist one another. It mattered little if ten miles 
apart, that was not too far to travel to assist or to be assisted. Every man 
had his day, and when that day came, rain or shine, none of the expected as- 
sistants were absent. They did not wait till the dews were dissipated, they 
came as soon as the sun rose and often sooner. I yet see them, and how I 
regret that we do not have a photographic view of the company, our fathers 
and mothers, just as they were then. True, they were not fashionably 
dressed, for in nine cases out of ten, each man wore a pair of buckskin pants, 
partly from necessity and partly from convenience, for a man dressed in 
leather moves through brush and briers with little inconveniences Each wore 
moccasins instead of boots, and old hats, coonskin or buckskin caps made up 
the head gear. There was no time lost. Each man was a veteran and 
hastened on to the work to be done with precision and skillfulness. If the 
company was large enough it was divided. Eight men made a good strong 
company, and quite as many as could act together. Every squad had a captain 
or leader, not by election, but he was such by pre-eminence and skill in the 
business. And now the work begins. The leader casts his experienced eye 
over the logs as they were fallen by accident, or more probably, by design, and 
at a single glance takes in the situation over an acre. A half dozen logs are 
lying a few feet apart, and in a parallel position. They can be readily thrown 

Digitized by 



together and constitute a nice pile for burning. The leader speaks, and they 
seem to have suddenly acquired locomotion, and are in a pile. And thus on 
and on for fifteen or twenty days every spring, before each man has had his 
day. The mothers were there also assisting, in cooking, not in patent metal 
stoves, with a half dozen compartments to stow away everything nicely, but 
in Dutch ovens and sugar kettles before a hot burning log pile. If anything 
was wanting, and the want was made known, it was kindly contributed, and a 
rich, hearty meal was provided, and then eaten with a zest unknown to the 
present lazy shadows of manhood. And thus the day was spent in useful 
necessary labor and friendly chat. But the pioneer, during the busy season, 
did not go home to rest and to sleep from a log rolling, but to his own clear- 
ing, where he continued to heap brush on the burning heaps till the snapping 
and uproar could be heard in the distance, and the light lit up the heavens for 
half a mile away, then retiring to snatch from labor a few hours of rest, he 
soon found the coming day, bringing with it the busy scenes already described. 
But there was a good woman, a faithful mother, left behind, and so soon as 
the morning meal was over, she did not while away the day in reading novels 
or fingering a piano, but she took all the children to the clearing, and securing 
baby in a safe position, she and the older ones continued to pile on the brush 
and combustibles, and thus the work went on by day and night. Jn early 
spring, when the trees were being felled to be cut up for piling and burning 
on some elevated place in the midst of a pioneer settlement, my attention has 
been often arrested by the busy scene around me. In old age the mind wan- 
ders back to brighter days, and often finds pleasure even in youthful sports. 

"How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood, 
When fond recollection presents them to view ; 

The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood. 
And all the loved scenes which my infancy knew." 

When we travel over the "New Purchase," and see it as it now is, and 
compare it with its condition fifty years ago, the exclamation forces itself 
upon us ; How changed ! Everything is altered ! It is another world ! But 
what wrought the change ? Come, travel back with me to its condition as it 
was fifty or sixty years ago and learn the cause, and see the busy scenes 
around. It is a pleasing one to me, and was then, although repeated over and 
over for three months during every spring. It is now the ist of May, and 
fifty years ago since those good men, the pioneers, stimulated by the recollec- 
tion of the scanty supplies of the last year, were straining every nerve to clear 

Digitized by 



up more ground to supply the deficiency. Here with their bare, brawny arms, 
they swung high in the air their sharp glittering blades, that effectively fell 
in unceasing blows amid the trees and brush of the jungle, click! click! just 
at hand and faintly heard in the distance ; click ! click ! twenty or thirty axes 
are heard in rapid fall. Every man and every boy is at work. 

"Deep echoing groan the thickets brown, 

Then rustling, crackling, crashing thunder down," 

the forest trees. And the ponderous maul forced down with the power of a 
stalwart pioneer, shakes the forest for a mile away; and the loudsounding 
monotones of twenty bells, at least, on the leaders of cattle and horses, like 
telephones, tell the owners where to find them, as they roam at large and feed 
on nature's wide pasture. 

And now gaunt want, with his emaciated form and hateful, shrunken 
visage, who had forced himself into every cabin in spite of the efforts of its 
inmates, when he heard the crashing, falling trees, and saw at night the lurid 
glare of burning logs and brush, was alarmed and fled, but afterward often 
returned and cast a wistful eye within, but seldom entered. 

It was thus the improvements in Johnson county were begun. It is thus 
the work has been carried on and the consummation reached in the grand 
development of its resources in every department of our industries. Among 
the pioneers were some immoral, bad men; there were, however, but few 
entirely destitute of all good. In this history, it is the gold and not the dross 
that we would preserve. Not only in laborious duties, but, also, in moral and 
social qualities, the pioneers generally were a noble and select class of men 
and women. Their ears were open to every call of aid and assistance. I 
would to God that I had the skill to paint in proper colors, and to describe their 
kindness and sympathy, and their vigils around the couches of their suffering, 
dying neighbors, but I am powerless to do them justice. 

And around their firesides, in social evening gatherings, their friend- 
ship and kindness knew no limits. And, if it were not for the want and 
destitution and constant hardships endured by them, and the gloomy, deadly 
autumnal sickness, I could wish to meet them once again, though in the gloomy 
forest, to enjoy another social gathering in a humble log cabin where every 
thought and every word came up fresh and pure, gushing from the heart. 
But they are gone. They have long since gathered by the "side of the beauti- 
ful river," in a friendship now changed into perfect love, where God shall 
wipe away all tears, to receive the glorious rewards of well-spent lives. We 

Digitized by 



owe to their memories a vast debt for the beautiful country which their labors 
and suflFerings hae left us, and yet still more, for their examples in goodness 
and virtue, which by night and by day still go with us, and kindly, and softly, 
and sweetly, in angelic whispers, invite us to walk in their footsteps and prac- 
tice their virtues. They are gone, but still they are with us and live in our 
memories as fresh and as green as the beautiful grass that, mournfully droop- 
ing, in spring-time waves over them. They are gone, but still aflfection, 
though it linger, will follow on and cling to them, and for long years to come 
will often return with soft, silent footsteps to plant nature's sweet emblems 
of virtue on thdr graves, the choicest and richest and rarest of flowers, which 
will spring with fresh vigor, and bloom in new beauty and glory, and shed 
richer fragrance, sweeter than incense, because they g^ow on the graves of 
the pioneer fathers and mothers, and because they were planted by children 
and kindred who loved them and nurtured them with tears of richest affec- 

In the northwest corner of Johnson and northeast corner of Morgan 
and over north in Marion county, was once a large farm and a town of Dela- 
ware Indians. The acres which had been in cultivation, in the judgment of 
the first settlers, in 1820, although overgrown by bushes, must have exceeded 
two hundred, the greater part of which was in Johnson county. It was de- 
lightfully situated on a plateau twenty-five or thirty feet above the overflow- 
age of the river, and was cut on the northeast and southeast by White river. 
When William Landers, Esq., settled on a tract of land adjoining the town in 
April, 1820, there still resided on that portion of the farm in White River 
township and west of the river, Captain Big Fire, Little Duck, and Johnny 
Quack, and on the east side of the river, in White River township, on the old 
Morgan or Denny place, Captain White, another Indian, where also a large 
field had been in cultivation at a previous date. And on the left bank of the 
river, three-fourths of a mile below Captain White's, on the lands of John J. 
Worsham, was another Indian location and burial ground, but no cultivation. 
This encampment was owned by Big Bear. On the Morgan county part of 
the old Indian field Captain Tunis had his wigwam, and just adjoining, in 
Marion, old Solomon had his. The wigwams were situated on the right bank 
of the river at the southeast corner of the farm, near the middle of section 31. 
Here seems to have been once a stone wall, thirty or forty feet long and five or 
six feet high, built of portable undressed stones and laid parallel with the river 
and a hundred feet distant. The Indians said this wall was built for de- 
fensive purposes against the Kentuckians ; that there had been a bloody battle 
fought there once between them and the whites, beginning on the east bank of 

Digitized by 



the river, where they were surprised, and that they were forced over the river, 
assaulted in the town and finally driven out. That thereafter the farm had 
never been occupied, except by a few returning^ families. The size of the 
brush growing on and about the once cleared land at that date, 1820, showed 
that it had but recently been abandoned. An old Kentuckian of great reliabil- 
ity, Stephen Watkins, on a visit to White River township, twenty-five years 
ago, repeated precisely the same history of this town, and the battle and all 
the circumstances of the fight. He went so far as to point to the near battle- 
field; he said he had the particulars from one of the actors and knew them to 
be true. Does history give any account of this battle ? In Dillon's history of 
Indiana, it is shown that the "Pigeon Roost Massacre" took place in the north 
part of Scott county, about eighty miles south of the Indian town, on the 3d 
day of September, 1812. The next evening one hundred and fifty mounted 
rifle-men, under command of Col. John McCoy, followed the trail twenty 
miles. On the 6th, the militia of Clarke county (no number given) was re- 
enforced by sixty mounted volunteers from Jefferson county, and on the 
evening of the 7th three hundred and fifty volunteers from Kentucky were 
ready to unite with the Indiana militia of Clark and Jefferson for the purpose 
of making an attack on the Delaware Indians, some of whom were suspected 
of havirfg been engaged in the destruction of the Pigeon Roost settlement, 
* * * **But, it is said, a spirit of rivalry which prevailed among some of 
the officers defeated the intention of those who at the time proposed to destroy 
the towns of the friendly Delawares who lived on the western branch of the 
White river." Now hear what Major John Tipton says about these "friendly 
Indians'' on White River: "In their way out, they (the escaping Indians) 
passed the Saline or Salt creek and I there took an old trail leading direct to 
the Delaware towns, and it is my opinion that while the government is sup- 
porting one part of that tribe (the Delawares), the other part is murdering 
our citizens." * * ♦ 

"It is much to be desired that these rascals of whatever tribe they may be 
harboring about these (Delaware) towns, should be routed, which could be 
done with one hundred men in seven days." With this purpose and spirit 
openly declared by the whites, how long, do we imagine, they waited for an 
opportunity to execute it? Will any one make me believe that six hundred 
armed men at the "Pigeon Roost Massacre," after viewing the slaughtered 
and roasted human bodies and burning houses, quietly dispersed and went 
home? Col. Joseph Bartholomew raided these towns on White river with 
one hundred and thirty-seven men on the isth day of June, 1813. He found 
three towns, two of whom had been burnt about a month before (sec Dillon, 

Digitized by 



524). Who destroyed them? The reason that the battle at the Delaware, 
if a battle did occur, and the breaking them up on White river was never re- 
ported, is that the government, during the war with the other Indian tribes in 
1811, 1812 and 1813, was supporting and protecting the Delawares who had 
promised to engage in peaceful pursuits. General Harrison had directed the 
Delawares to remove to the Shawnee Reservation in Ohio, and most of them 
had done so soon after the battle of Mississinewa, December 17, 181 2. Those 
who refused to go received but little mercy. But another proof of this battle 
is the fact that on the twenty-acre field, in the southwest corner of the north- 
west quarter, section 32, township 14 north, range 3 east, near Captain White's 
old camp, large numbers of leaden bullets of every size, battered and bruised, 
have been found. I have had at least one hundred of them myself, and have 
picked up at least nine, recently, in a wash of the river and have been told of 
hundreds being found by others. I have passed a short distance from this 
field, on other ground more suitable for finding them, but never yet found any 
except on this locality. And a few years since, on John Sutton's farm, one 
mile and a fourth north of the battle field, and only one mile east of the 
Indian town, four frames of human bodies were washed out of a low, wet 
piece of bottom land. The skulls were carried off before I had an oppor- 
tunity of examining them. No Indian ever buried his dead in a low, wet 
piece of land. They must have been buried there under pressing circum- 
stances and by white men. 


There was not one of the pioneers of Johnson county, about whom so 
much has been written and spoken, and of whom so little is known, as Daniel 
Loper. In October, 1820, Simon Covert, Jacob Demaree, Prettyrnan Burton, 
George King and some others made a tour through central Indiana, and, on 
their return, crossed White river at Whetzel's, and followed his trace out tb 
the crossing of the Indian trail, now within the limits of Pleasant township. 
At that place a little cabin was newly built, the roof was partly on, and a 
family had just come up the trace from the east, and were ready to take 
possession. This is the first heard of Daniel Loper, the first white inhabitant 
of two townships of Johnson county — Pleasant and Oark. But Loper did 
not remain long in his cabin at the crossing. Nathaniel Bell, from Ohio, 
"entered him out" in December of 1821, and Loper moved over to Camp 

Bell was a man of bad character, so much so that persons hunting homes 

Digitized by 



in the woods shunned him and his place, and, unlike most other meyi who came 
to stay at that date, he was not the founder of a neighborhood. It was cur* 
rently reported of him, and generally believed, that he availed htmsdf of the 
oppKHtnmtks that were presented to extort money from travelers who stopped 
at his cabin, by secreting his horses in the woods, and then, for a sufficient re- 
ward, returning the animals. 

As soon as settlers began coming in, Bell built a horse-mill, the first of 
the kind in the county. This was a very primitive affair, the tub in which the 
stone revolved being a section of a hollow sycamore, and the harness wath 
which the horses were hitched to the -levers being of rawhide. But Bell was 
an unworthy miller and so managed the grists that came to his mill as to steal 
more of the corn and meal than he took by lawful toll. He wore the sleeves 
of his hunting shirt open and large, and he not only managed to pick up a few 
extra grains w^hile tolling the grist, but, on the pretense of examining the 
meal as it came from the spout, he managed to catch in his open sleeve a good 
share of the meal, and then, folding his arms about him as he sauntered to 
his own chest or to his cabin and unloaded. Sometimes his victims would 
remonstrate with him, but his usual reply was "Well, the little old man must 
live." On one occasion, it is said of him that the miller's sleeves being well 
gorged with meal, the horses took fright, ran away and knocked the mill 
stones from their frail scaffolding, and otherwise damaged the property. 
Bell himself received a blow from the flying debris that knocked him down and 
scattered the meal stored in his ample sleeves. Shame or conscience so worked 
upon him that he promised to do better in the future, but his promise was 
soon broken ; he never mended his ways. For many years after the settlement 
of the county, every man's stock ran the range, and hogs soon became wild 
and, when fattened on the mast, were hunted and shot by their owners the 
same as were the deer. Bell, it was believed, made a practice of killing other 
men's hogs, and once at a log rolling Permenter Mullenix, who had lost hogs, 
charged Bell with the theft. Apparently much shocked that such a charge 
should be made, he went to Indianapolis and employed Judge Wick, then 
practicing law, and Calvin Fletcher, to prosecute Mullenix for slander. The 
action was accordingly begun, but Mullenix made good his defense by prov- 
ing the charge to be true, whereupon the grand jury indicted Bell and he was 
tried, convicted and sent to the penitentiary, the first convict sent from the 

In 1823, John B. Smock and Isaac Smock moved from Mercer county, 
Kentucky, and settled near the head waters of Pleasant run. A road was cut 
out to Franklin, but from thereon the Smocks were compelled to bush their 

Digitized by 




own way, and they were two days about it. The next year their brother James 
followed them, and, in 1825, Garrett Brewer, Garrett Vandiver, Garrett 
Sorter, Robert Lyons and Joseph, John and Samuel Alexander also came. 
The Smock settlement was a half-way house between Franklin and Indian- 
apolis, and from this may be accounted the fact of its slow growth for many 
years. Up to about 1830, it appears that the number moving in was quite 
small. In addition to those already mentioned, may be named John Com- 
ingore, who came in 1826, Cornelius Smock in 1827, Alexander Wilson in 
1828, and Isaac Voris in 1829. 

In 1824 the State road was cut out, and notwithstanding the country in 
the center and south side of the township was inclined to be wet, settlers 
shortly began making entries of land, and, in 1828, David Trout and, a little 
later in the year, James Tracy and his grown sons, Nathaniel, Thomas and 
John, William Pierce and James Chenoweth built cabins and started clearings 
extending from the center of the township southward. All these men, except- 
ing the Alexanders, who were Pennsylvanians, and David Trout, who was a 
Virginian, and had moved from Nineveh, were Kentuckians. On the 4th 
day of May, 1829, Pleasant township was created by striking off from White 
River all the territory east of the range line, making the west boundary the 
same as it is now; but, up to 1828, Clark township formed a part of Pleasant. 
Elections were ordered to be held at the house of Isaac Smock, and Isaiah 
Lewis was appointed inspector. The township took its name from its prin- 
cipal stream, Pleasant run. Two explanations have been given, accounting 
for the name of the creek, one of which is, that when the country was first 
settled the stream was a gently flowing, pleasant running stream ; and the other 
that it was the reverse of this, and the name was given by way of irony. 

Here, as everywhere else, it is difficult to fix upon the years when men 
moved in, but it is certain that an impetus was now given to immigration into 
the township. By mid-summer of 1834, the following persons are known to 
have moved into and about the Smock neighborhood, to- wit: The Com- 
ingores, Henry and Samuel, the McColloughs, John Lyons, Peter Whitenack, 
Samuel Eccles, the Henrys, Robert, Hiram and Samuel, J. D. and William 
Wilson, John and James Carson, Dr. William Woods, William Magee and 
sons, William and Joseph Benton, Marine D. West, Berryman Carder and the 
Todds. All these were from Kentucky, except the Henrys, from Virginia, 
the Wilsons, who were from North Carolina, the Woods, the McColloughs and 
the Carsons, who were from Tennessee.. Lower down in the Tracy and 
Trout neighborhoods, Thomas Gant, the Hills, Littleton, Joseph, Squire and 
Charles, James Stewart, David Lemasters, Reuben Davis, William Mc- 

Digitized by 



Clelland, Daniel, David and John Brewer, Robert Smith, Abraham Sharp, and 
probably others, moved in, while over toward the southeast corner and east 
side came in Thomas Graham and his three sons, Samuel, James and Archi- 
bald, and also Lewis Graham, Isaac Clem and Andrew McCaslin, followed 
soon after by Ash ford Dowden, Abraham Banta, Solomon Steele, Jacob Pegg 
and others. By the close of 1834 persons were located all over the township, 
but it could not be said to be fairly inhabited until 1840. 

The first sermon preached in Pleasant township was at the house of John 
C. Smock, in 1824, by the Rev. George Bush, who afterward became a pro- 
fessor in a theological school in New York, and wrote **Bush's Notes on the 
Gospels," and a life of Mohammed. A Presbyterian church was organized 
in the Smock neighborhood, the first in the township, after which a meeting 
house was built, which was used for a time as a school house. 

About 1828, James Richabough undertook to operate a cotton spinning 
factory and a carding machine in a frame building. He put it up a mile or 
less south of the present town of Greenwood, but his venture proved a failure. 

Pleasant township is favorably located. It has a thrifty, industrious 
people, who are blessed with good soil, and who have had the enterprise to 
utilize their gravel deposits in the building of gravel roads. 


On the xoth of" March, 1799, Richardson Hensley was bom near Fred- 
ericksburg, in Virginia. While he was yet a child, his father moved to Fayette 
county, Kentucky, after which he moved to Mercer county, where, in 1800, 
Richardson was married to Elizabeth Cully. In the war of i8i2, he served 
as a first lieutenant on the frontier; and in March, 1825, he brought his 
family to Johnson county, this state. Accompanying him was William Daven- 
port, a North Carolinian, and William Mitchell, a Virginian, his sons-in-law, 
and their families. Five or six families were living around Edinburg, and at 
the Nineveh settlement the road ended. Stopping at some point at the time 
not now known, but probably on the Nineveh, Hensley and his companions 
made a tour through the woods, and selected the central part of congressional 
township II, range 3, on the banks of Indian creek, as the place for their 
homes. Among the woodsmen of that day Curtis Pritchard stood at the 
head, and, employing him to select the best route through the wilderness frorn 
Nineveh to Indian creek for a road, he went ahead with horn in hand, and at 
intervals would wind a blast as a signal to the axmen to cut through the woods 
to his vantage ground. Selecting a quarter section, cornering with the center 

Digitized by 



of the congressional township, Hensley put up a cabin, and then, on the 17th 
of February, he entered the Ifirst tract of land in the township that was occu- 
pied by a pioneer. 

In 1823, three hundred and twenty acres had been taken up in the north- 
east comer of the township, and at the same time two hundred and forty 
acres just across the township line, now in Union, by David Scott. But Scott 
never came to his purchase, and many were the conjectures accounting for it 
indulged in by those who knew of the '*Scott lands." The most popular of 
these was, that he had been murdered before reaching home, after his entry 
had been made ; and it was seventeen years after the purchase before it was 
learned that Scott was a trader, living at Cheat Neck, near Morgantown, in 
Virginia, and that he had invested the proceeds of a trading voyage to New 
Orleans in congress lands in Johnson, Bartholomew, Shelby and other counties 
in Indiana, and then had returned to his home and reported to his creditors 
the loss of his cargo in the Mississippi, and made with them a composition of 
his debts. But his fraud availed him nothing, for shortly after he came to his 
death by being thrown from his horse, and his secret died with him. Not 
even had he divulged it to his wife and daughter. William Y. Johns, a young 
man living in Scott's nei^borhood, being lured to Johnson county about 1837, 
by the memory of an old sweetheart, and remaining here, was elected to the 
office of county treasurer, in 1844, and the "Scott lands" coming under his 
notice, he made the discovery that they had been entered by his old neighbor 
from Cheat Neck. William Y. Johns' brother was then married to Scott's 
only daughter, and the widow, who was still living, and the daughter, came 
to Indiana. And although the "Scott lands" had long been sold at tax sales, 
they were partially redeemed. 

Hensley cleared a little field in the woods the first spring, and planted it 
in corn ; but the wild turkeys invaded his field and scratched the seed out of the 
ground. Replanting and keeping the turkeys away, when the little crop was 
raised the squirrels came and did great damage. After these, a band of forty 
well dressed, well mounted Indians came and encamped on Indian creek — so 
called because it was a famous Indian resort in the early times — ^and although 
they had plenty of money, they begged and stole everything they wanted. 
Hensley's corn patch was peculiarly tempting to them, and, in spite of his best 
resolutions and utmost vigilance, they carried his corn away by the armfuls. 

The same spring that Hensley, Mitchell and Davenport came in, John 
Stephens, from Tennessee, and Nathaniel Elkins, from Kentucky, came, and 
some time during the last of the year Peter Titus came from Ohio, and settled 
on what has since been known as the Bridges farm. In the fall of that year, . 

Digitized by 



it is believed that Charles and Mitchel Ross settled on the west line of the 
township, and about the same time Richard Perry must have moved into the 
northeast corner. 

The township grew rapidly in population. The lands along Indian creek 
were peculiarly inviting to land hunters, who had traversed the level lands of 
the country in search of suitable locations and immigrants came trooping in. 
At least twenty men came in and bought, and more than half that number 
moved in. Of these, Isaac Holeman, Henry Musselman, Arthur Bass, Albert 
Roberts, John Schrem, John and Lewis Shouse and Aaron Holeman may be 
mentioned. By the close of 1833 "^ore than fifty families had moved in, and, 
while it would seem to be impossible at this time to make any degree of class- 
ification as the time when these came in, or even to give the names of all, yet 
the following may be set down as being early settlers, to-wit : James Taggart 
(who was afterward killed at the battle of Buena Vista), William Skaggs, 
Holland Jones, John Brunk, Nicholas Hobbs, Hiram Porter, Reason and John 
Slack, John Voris, Simpson Sturgeon, Montgomery Smith, Andrew Under- 
wood, Leonard Leffler, John McNutt, William Mitchell, Thomas Lyman, S. 
W. Weddle, Thomas Lockhart, Thomas Alexander, John Clark, Jesse Wells, 
Samuel Fleener, Hiram T. Craig, John Boland, Samuel Woolard, Frederick 
Ragsdale, George Bridges, William Clark, Abraham Massey, McKinney 
Burk, Avery M. Buckner, Levi Petro, James Wiley, Elijah Moore, Stith 
Daniel, Thomas L. Sturgeon, James Forsyth, David and Uriah Young, God- 
frey Jones, R. W. Elder, James Hughes, George White, Richard Joliffe and 
Perry Baily. 

Hensley was the fourth township, in point of time, organized in the 
county. At the March term of the board of justices, in 1827, the organization 
took place and the name was l^estowed upon the suggestion of Samuel 
Herriott, in honor of its founder. 

The elections for twenty years were held at the house of Richardson 
Hensley, after which the place was changed to Henry Musselman's house. 

In 1834 Henry Musselman opened the first store in the township, and 
sold goods for many years. He was a very active man, but totally devoid of 
book education. He could neither read nor write, and yet, for a great many 
years, he carried on business successfully. But what is the more remarkable, 
he did a credit business and kept accounts in his peculiar fashion. He knew 
and could make figures, however, and could carry on processes of addition, 
substraction, multiplication and division mentally. His accounts he kept by 
marking upon the walls of his storeroom with a nail or pencil. Every cus- 
tomer had his own place of account allotted to him, and so well trained was 

Digitized by 



Kenry Musselman's memor)^ that he never forgot the right place nor the mean- 
ing of his marks, nor did any man ever dispute his accounts. One story is 
told, and vouched for as being true, tending to show that it was possible for 
him to forget, and it is this : A debtor came and called for a settlement and 
among the items charged was a cheese. ''But I never bought a cheese of you 
in my life/' said the debtor. "Didn't you? Well, what did you get? Think!'' 
and the debtor thought. "Ah," said he, light breaking, after a pause, "Yes, I 
got a grindstone.'' "Oh, so you did, I forgot to put the hole in it." On an- 
other occasion, when Musselman was in Madison buying goods, a merchant, 
with whom he was dealing, asked him how he managed to know what per 
cent, to put on his goods, seeing that he was unacquainted with letters. "Well, 
I don'.t know anything about your per cent, but I do know that when I buy 
an article of you for one dollar and take it out to my place and sell it for two. 
that I am not losing anything." He could and did mark the cost price on his 
goods, however, but no one understood it but himself. After his son, George 
W., grew up he procured books and had George keep his accounts, but so 
retentive was his memory that he could and often did sell goods all day, and 
at night repeat the exact quantities of goods sold, to whom sold, and at what 


The political township of Union is co-extensive with the twelfth con- 
gressional township in the third range. The township is well watered. The 
North fork, south fork, middle fork and Kootz's fork of Stott's creek, flow 
westerly, partly through and out of this township, and draining into the White 
river. Moore's creek takes its rise in the northeast part, and runs into 
Young's creek to the east. The table lands lying upon the divide between the 
head waters of the Stott's creek and the Young's Forks creek tributaries, and 
also between the North, South and Middle forks, are level, and at the time 
of the settlement of the county, were extremely wet. 

These table lands are true highlands of the township, and from their 
level to White river the fall is great. Hence, the streams flowing westward 
have, during the lapse of ages, cut deep channels through the soils and clays, 
and the high banks left on either side have, by the action of rain, frost and 
other agencies of nature, been molded into hills and knobs, which are now 
generally known as broken lands. 

Some time in 1823, Bartholomew Carroll moved from Kentucky by the 
way of the Three Notched Line road, then newly cut, and found his way 
through the bnish to the South fork of Stott's creek, and settled in section 34, 

Digitized by 




where John Vandiver afterward built a mill. Carroll had a family, consisting 
of his wife, three sons, William, John and Samuel, and two girls. The 
grandfather of his children lived with him — a very aged man, who died, it is 
said, when he was one hundred and ten years old. Bartholomew Carroll was 
a genuine backwoodsman. He spent his time in the wilderness hunting game 
and wild honey. The country about him was well stocked with all kinds of 
game, common to the country, and an experienced bee hunter could take 
honey in vast quantities. It is said that Carroll would sometimes have as 
many as one hundred bee-trees marked in the woods at a time. 

There is some uncertainty as to the time when many of the pioneers 
moved into Union township. It is next to impossible at this time to get the 
names of all who came in or the time when they came. In fifty years, much 
that was at the time of interest sinks into oblivion. 

Growing upon the farm entered by Peter Vandiver is a beech tree, bear- 
ing in its rough bark, this date: "i6th October, 1826." Strother Vandiver, 
then a good-sized boy, cut this inscription in that tree, to commemorate the 
day of his father's arrival upon the eighty-acre tract which he immediately 
entered. With Vandiver, when he moved from Mercer county, Kentucky, 
came his old neighbors, John Garshwiler, Joseph Simpson and Mrs. Christina 
Garshwiler. These settled over on the east side of the township. The same 
year, Thomas Henderson, living at the Big Spring, notified Simon Covert that 
a family had moved into the woods some miles to the west, and proposed they 
should go and see who it was. Taking their axes with them, they at length 
found Mrs. Gwinnie Utterback, a widow, with a family of eight sons, .Corban, 
Laban, Henry, Hezekiah, Perry, Joseph, Elliott and Samuel and a daughter, 
Rebecca, encamped by the side of a log, a little south of the present site of 
Union Village. Joining their help with the boys, Henderson and Covert soon 
had a cabin of poles raised and a shelter provided for the family. These are 
all who are now believed to have made settlements that )rear. 

In 1827. George Kepheart moved to the township, and settled in section 
23, and the same year Alexander Gilmer settled in the northeast comer. 

In 1828 there was growth. Nearly two thousand acres were entered this 
year by twenty-two men, and at least ten or twelve moved in. Peter Zook 
and Samuel Williams and Henry Banta stopped in the Vandiver neighbor- 
hood ; Jacob List and Philip Kepheart located near the east boundary line of 
the congressional township; Benjamin Utterback moved near to his sister-in- 
law, who came in the year before, while Adam Lash and James Rivers moved 
farther to the north, and John Mitchell still further out, but toward the north- 

Digitized by 



west corner of the township. Jesse Young located on the northwest quarter 
of section 27. 

Rock Lick was a famous resort for deer during the early times. 
There was not probably in all the county a deer lick that equaled it. For 
miles and miles in every direction run-ways led to it. Jesse Young, who had 
settled on the Nineveh in 1825, and who was much of a hunter, visited this 
place, and was so impressed with the enormous mast crops thereabout, that 
he determined to make his home in the neighborhood. Accordingly, some 
time before he moved, he drove his hogs to the oak forests, and built a camp 
not far from the lick. Here he hunted, tended his hogs and read his Bible 
and Young's Night Thoughts. With these two books he was quite familiar, 
and in his old age it was his habit to interlard his discourse with apt quota- 
tions, especially from the last-named work. Young was a strict observer of 
Sunday, and on one occasion it is said he lost his reckoning, and kept the 
Jewish Sabbath instead of the Christian. The next morning he went into the 
woods and, killing a deer, brought it into camp. Soon a party of hunters 
came by, and finding Young engaged with a deer newly killed, they reminded 
him of his Sunday principle. But he vindicated himself by assuring them 
that he had kept the day before, which was Sunday. A re-count of the time 
convinced him that he was mistaken, and after disposing of his venison, he 
turned into camp and kept the rest of the day as sacred. 

Young carried a large-bored and far-shooting rifle, which he affection- 
ately named "Old Crate.'' At the time he went to the Nineveh, a white deer 
was known to range the woods in the west and southwest parts of the county, 
and every hunter was naturally anxious to secure that particular game. But 
this deer became exceedingly shy, and it must have been two or three years 
after it was first seen before it fell a victim to a ball from "Old Crate." 
Young killed it, firing from a great distance. 

Another of the successful hunters of Union township was Robert 
Moore, who afterward was elected to the office of associate judge. 

In 1829, ten more men with their families moved into Union. Robert 
Moore and Joseph Young into what afterward came to be known as the Shiloh 
neighborhood, and William Bridges, John James, near Vandiver's place, and 
William Kepheart, James Vaughn in the Utterback neighborhood, and Henry 
Graselose, toward the northwest comer. Peter Bergen and Andrew Carnine 
moved into the east side adjoining the Hopewell neighborhood. About the 
same time John Mullis settled near Rock Lick. 

The next year, Garrett Terhune settled at the Three Notched Line road, 


Digitized by 



near Vandiver's. Gideon Drake moved out to within a mile of the Morgan 
county line. Bennett, Austin and William Jacobs moved up to the north side. 
Nicholas Wyrick settled on the North fork of Stott's creek, and David and 
Cornelius Lyster moved over to the east side. 

By the close of this year, about forty families were living in the town- 
ship, as now constituted, and on the 5th day of July previous Union township 
was organized by an order of the board of justices. As then bounded, it wa& 
much larger than it is now. One tier of sections now on the south side of 
White river was attached, and two tiers extending the entire west side of 
Franklin and two sections out of the southwest comer of Pleasant. From 
time to time, however, changes have been made in the boundary lines of the 
township, until they have been reduced to the congressional township lines. 

In 1 83 1, Isaac Knox, John McColgin and Joshua Hammond, who were 
Virginians, settled in the northwest corner of the North fork of Stott's creek. 
Willis Deer and Wesly, his brother, and John L. Jones settled near Mrs. Utter- 
back ; John Henderson to the northwest of them some miles ; George Kerlin 
and Peter Shuck on the east side of the township, and Garrett Vandiver not 
far from the present site of Bargersville, while Serrill Winchester and Jacob 
Core moved into Jesse Young*s vicinity. 

The next year, Jacob Banta and Samuel Throgmorton moved in and in 
1833, Daniel Newkirk, the gunsmith, Peter D. Banta, David Demaree, John 
Knox, John Gets, Joshua Landers and, probably, Jesse Harris, Peter Voris 
and John Shuck. 

The families moving into the North Fork neighborhood were nearly or 
quite all Virginians, but all the others, with but few exceptions, were Ken- 
tuckians. Garrett Terhune was New Jersey born, but moved from Ken- 
tucky. Jesse and Joseph Young, Gideon Drake and Robert Moore were from 
Ohio. Out of more than seventy families referred to, three-fourths were 
from Kentucky. 

The growth of the township was slow, but those who came came to stay, 
and the work of improvement went on. In 1828, Peter Vandiver built a 
horse-mill, the first mill in the township, which was run night and day and 
supplied the country for a great distance around with bread. In 1832, George 
Kerlin put up a horse-mill, which was long a place of general resort for grind- 
ing wheat and corn. About 1834, John Vandiver built a mill on the South 
fork of Stott's creek, where Carroll had settled, and in about two years after 
John Young built one lower down on the same stream, and Thomas Slaughter 
put one up near Rock Lick on the Middle fork. 

l.^p to the introduction of underground draining, the level lands of Union 

Digitized by 



township were not esteemed as of very great value, but since the era of ditch- 
ing has set in there has been > great and wonderful development in every- 
thing that goes to make up the welfare of a people. 

The township has ever been remarkable for the absence of gross violations 
of law. But one murder has ever occurred within its precincts, and that was 
the murder of Peter T. Vannice, in 1863, by a stranger to the place, whom 
Vannice employed on his farm. Taking advantage of his employer, he shot 
him down in his own door-yard, and then robbed him of his money and fled, 
with a gun, up the Three Notched Line road toward Indianapolis. George 
F. Garshwiler and some others gave pursuit and, on overtaking the murderer 
near Greenwood, he turned aside and shot himself dead. 


The territory now organized into Clark township originally formed a part 
of White River, and, from 1829, when Pleasant was organized, up to 1838, 
it formed a part of that township. In the last named year, Clark township, 
with boundaries as at present, was set off from Pleasant, and the name was 
bestowed by virtue of the Clark family, which settled, at an early day in its 
history, in the northern part of the township. 

This township was the youngest of the sisterhood of townships in John- 
son county, and was unfavorably located for early settlement. Sugar creek 
touches upon the southeast comer, and Leatherwood and Flat creek, having 
their sources near the north boundary line, flow southward and unite their 
waters in what was known as the Great Gulf in the early years of the county's 
history, and from the south side of the gulf the waters of Little Sugar flowed 
down to Big Sugar. In the west side, and well up toward the north boundary, 
WhetzeFs Camp creek, or, as it is now called, the Hurricane, takes its rise, and 
sends its waters creeping down to Young's creek, at Franklin. All these, 
excepting Big Sugar and Little Sugar, for a few miles above its mouth, were 
sluggish streams. The traveler on the Jeffersonville railroad will observe, a 
mile south of Greenwood, quite a cut through a ridge of land. This ridge 
extends eastward from that point, and into Clark township a distance of 
nearly, or quite, eight miles from Greenwood, where it bends to the north- 
east and, running parallel to Sugar creek, ends in Shelby county. All of 
Qark township north of the south line of this ridge is high ground and here 
did the work of settlement take its firmest hold in the beginning. The banks 
of Sugar creek, being drained by that stream, afforded comparatively dry sites 

Digitized by 



for cabins, but nearly all the rest of the land of the township, excepting the 
high ground in the north, was exceedingly wet and swampy. 

In 1820, as we have seen, Daniel Loper built a cabin at the crossing of 
the Great Indian Trail and WhetzeFs Trace in Pleasant township. Shortly 
after Nathaniel Bell entered the land at the crossing, and some time in 1821 
Loper moved back on the Whetzel Trace, to Whetzel's old camp on Camp 
creek, where he made the first permanent home that was made in the town- 
ship. How long he remained here is not known. John Vamer, an old man 
who lived with him, died in his cabin within a short time after it was built, 
and Loper, with the assistance of Peter Doty and Nathaniel Bell, buried him 
in a walnut trough. Not long after Loper disappeared, but no one knows 
where he went. A deserted **Loper's Cabin,*' seen by Thomas Walker in 
Hendricks county some years after he left, gives rise to the surmise that he 
may have gone there. The circumstances attending the death and burial of 
John Varner, and Loper's disappearance shortly after, gave rise to a current 
belief among the first settlers that Loper was a murderer. After he left his 
place was a great camping ground for travelers, and the more superstitious 
sort sometimes told of seeing ghosts of the murdered dead. But from all 
that can be learned it would seem that Loper was a thriftless frontiersman, 
and becoming disturbed by the encroaching settlements at White river, Blue 
river and .Sugar creek, moved away. 

At a very early time John Ogle moved into the southeast corner — some 
authorities say as early as 1821, but others put it a year later. In 1822 a 
settlement was made on the east side of Sugar creek in Shelby county by 
Joseph Reese, John Webb and some others, and, attracted by this, a few 
Inen came out quite early into Clark township, on the west side of the creek. 
In 1822 William and John McConnell moved in, and I think that John Ogle 
did not come until the same year. 

It is extremely diflficult at this time to ascertain with any degree of cer- 
tainty the dates of arrival of the first and subsequent settlers, but, next after 
Loper's cabin and the Sugar creek settlement, pioneers began moving upon 
the highlands in the north. The first one to go in was Hugh McFadden 
and the second Glen Clark. Both were here in 1825, and the probability is 
that both came that year. In 1826 there moved into the settlement thus begun 
John L. McQain and Alexander Clark, from Kentucky, and three Hoosiers, 
Robert, Jacob and Abraham. The next year James and Moses McClain and 
Robert Ritchey came in from Kentucky and Moses Raines from Virginia. 
The year after Jacob and Thomas Robinson, Kentuckians, and Edward 
Wilson and Samuel Billingsley, North Carolinians. In 1832 David Justice, 

Digitized by 




Abraham Jones, Mathias Parr and James Kinnick, from North Carolina; 
and in 1833 Andrew Wolf, George Wolf, Tennesseeans, and all those men- 
tioned above, save the few Sugar creek settlers, and David Parr and John 
Fitzpatrick went into the neighborhood of Loper's old cabin. In 1834 there 
was quite an influx of immigrants: Allen Williams, John Tinkle, Robert 
Famsworth, David Farnsworth, Henry Famsworth, Aaron Huffman and 
Daniel McLean, Tennesseeans, and Henry White, Ellis White, Joseph Hamil- 
ton, Henry Grayson and Taylor Ballard, Kentuckians, and Charles Dungan, 
a Virginian; John Eastbum, a North Carolian, and Oliver Harbert, born in 
Dearborn county, Indiana, moved to the township in 1834. 

Clark township was now filling up quite fast. The following persons are 
believed to have moved in during the year 1835, to-wit: Joseph Hamilton, 
Theodore Vandyke, John Wheatly, Lyman Spencer, Parker Spencer, Caleb 
Davidson, Conrad McClain, Thomas Portlock and Samuel McQain; and 
James Williams, David McGauhey, John Harbert and James White followed 
the next year, while James Magill, I>avid McAlpin and Jacob Hal faker came 
in 1837. 

In May, 1838, Clark township was organized, and it was ordered that the 
elections be held at the house of Jacob Hosier. 

The Leatherwood school house, erected on the land of Charles Dungan 
in 1838, was the first one built, and scholars came a distance of three miles 
through the woods to attend the first school taught there by a Mr. Fifield, 
who was a Christian preacher, and by courtesy addressed as "Doctor." The 
first church was organized by the United Brethren, under the leadership of 
George Robush and William Richardson. The first blacksmith shop was 
opened by John Wheatly. The first tannerj' was started by Allan Taylor, 
and he and Henry Byrely opened the first store. 

The sw'amp, known to the early settlers of the county as the Great 
Gulf, and through which Jacob 'Whetzel cut his road when he came to the 
country, but which road was found to be untraveled, was long regarded as 
irreclaimable. Water stood in it save at the driest times of the year, and it 
was covered by immense forests of timber and dense thickets. The greater 
part of the Gulf was entered by Jacob Barlow in 1834 and 1835, but no 
attempt was made to drain or otherwise improve it until about 1853. I" that 
year John Barlow, his son, moved into the Gulf and entered upon the work 
of clearing and draining and has made of it one of the best farms of the 

In the early settlement of the county the Gulf was a famous game resort 
and as the country came to be cleared oflf this was the last place the wild 

Digitized by 



beasts left. Another celebrated game resort was the •'Windfall," across the 
Marion county line, and as- late as 1840 hunters were in the habit of organiz- 
ing a "drive" of deer from one to the other place, while the sharpshooters 
stationed on the runway between brought down the game. 

In 1854 a deer was shot and killed between Barlow's house and barn, 
and in the same year a catamount in broad daylight chased his hogs and in 
their fright they ran into the dwelling house for protection. The same sum- 
mer forty-seven wild turkeys came feeding close around the house and in 
1856 a wild turkey made a nest within fifty yards of the house and brought 
out a flock of young ones. As late as i860 a man became lost in the woods 
on the lower end of the Gulf and was compelled to lie out overnight. 

But a great change has taken place in Clark township. The timber has 
been cleared away and the natural drains opened. 

In 1865 Thomas Campbell and John Dean, Irishmen, moved in and 
bought wet lands and at once began the work of drainage on a more extensive 
scale than theretofore practiced. Since then about thirty Irish families have 
moved in, and the work of ditching has been rapidly carried on by l)oth 
native and foreign born, and such changes made as warrants the belief that 
Clark township in a few years will rank as one of the wealthiest townships 
in the county. 

Digitized by 




The first settlers coming into the woods were confronted with the neces- 
sity of making a clearing for the site of the cabin. While the clearing was 
making, a ''half-faced" camp was constructed in the Indian style, with one 
open side which served for windows and door and where the fire was built. 
Sometimes the rear of the lodge was placed against a large log, and such was 
the first home of Samuel Hcrriott while the clearing was being made for 
the erection of his log cabin. 

The first log cabins were made of round logs halved together at the 
corners, the cracks between the log "chinked'' with wedges of wood and 
"daubed" with clay. Openings were cut for windows and doors, the win- 
dows being covered with skins or blankets until greased paper could be pro- 
vided or glass obtained. The doors were swung on leather or rude wooden 
hinges, the latches fastening on the inside with strings hanging outside. By 
pulling the string within the door, the house was securely locked. 

But it was not long after the settlement of Johnson county until saw 
mills furnished the settlers with material for the erection of frame houses. 
Smiley's mill, on Sugar creek, was built as early as 1822; Collier's mill, on 
Sugar creek, just west of Edinburg, and another at the present site of what 
is now known as Furnas mill, were probably erected at about the same time. 
A little later Porter's mill was built on Indian creek in Hensley township, and 
other mills were erected at different points, especially in the southern half of 
the county. But long after these mills were erected the ordinary home of the 
farmer was built of logs, and it was only the quite well-to-do who built their 
houses of framed materials and weather boarding. 

In the making of the log houses it was the custom for all the neighbor- 
hood to meet and help raise the new house, for the logs were too heavy to be 
handled alone. After the cabins were built and a clearing made, the log roll- 
ing folk)wed. All the men for miles around came to help, bringing their 
wHves to aid in the cooking and serving of the bountiful meals. The log roll- 
ings and house raisings called forth the generous feelings of the entire com- 
munity and neighbors were not careful to keep account of the time spent in 

Digitized by 




these neighborly offices. They bred sentiments of generosity and encouraged 
a spirit of neighborly kindness that the present-day methods of living do not 

This neighborly spirit also manifested itself in all the industrial life of 
the community. In sugar-making time, at harvest time, at wool-shearing 
time, and at the corn huskings the neighbors were called in to help in the 
labor and to enjoy the social occasion. Women of the households also shared 
in this spirit and apple parings and quilting bees were as common as log roll- 
ings and house raisings. The same spirit permeated the religious life of the 
time. The quarterly meetings of the Methodists, the yearly meetings of the 
Old-School Baptists and many other gatherings of religious bodies called out 
the men and women of an entire community. If the meeting was held at a 
church, each settler living in the immediate neighborhood would provide for a 
score of the members coming from a distance. At many of the camp meet- 
ings rude houses were erected in the woods and the community gathered there 
for from one to three weeks' religious services. From these neighborhood 
meetings came the spirit which has been manifested even to this day by the 
farmers' wives in inviting many of the neighbors' families home for Sunday 

r In the school life the meeting house or school house also became a neigh- 

borhood center, and spelling matches and singing schools were held frequently 
and were largely attended. The pictures drawn by Edward Eggleston in the 
"Circuit Rider" and the "Hoosier Schoolmaster" are true to life and fairly 
represent the customs and manners of these social gatherings. 

It is worth while to consider some of the difficulties which confronted 
the home makers of those early days. Before the friction match was invented 
the problem of keeping fire was oftentimes a troublesome one. The flint, 
steel and tinder were found in every home. The tinder was made of the 
ravelings of old linen or of tow, sometimes from dried pith of the elder or 
other like vegetable matter. If tinder was w^anting. the fire was sometimes 
lighted from the flint by the aid of gunpowder. Often, however, when by- 
mischance the fire went out, someone, usually a small boy, was sent to the 
house of the nearest neighbor with shovel or covered vessel to bring back live 
coals for the relighting of the fire. Great care was taken, however, to pre- 
vent this necessity, and before the settler left his home for a day's absence, 
the fire was carefully banked against a great back log and protected w ith 

Before the days of the kerosene lamp, the usual method of lierhtine the 

Digitized by 



home was by candles. The method of making these candles is well described 
in Alice Morse Earle's "Home Life in Colonial Days" : 'The making of 
the winter's supply of candles was a special autumnal duty of the household 
and a hard one, too, for the great kettles were tiresome and heavy to handle. 
An early hour found the work well under way. A good fire was started in the 
kitchen fireplace under two vast kettles, each two feet perhaps in diameter, 
which were hung on trammels from a lug pole or crane and half filled with 
boiling water and melted tallow, which had had two scaldings and skim- 
mings. At the end of the kitchen or in an adjoining room, sometimes in the 
lean-to, two long poles were laid from chair to chair, or stool to stool. Across 
these poles were placed at regular intervals like the rounds of a ladder smaller 
sticks about fifteen or eighteen inches long, called candle rods. These poles 
and rods were kept from year to year, either in the garret or up on the 
kitchen beams. 

"To each candle rod was attached about six or eight carefully straight- 
ened candle wicks, the wicking being twisted strongly one way ; then doubled, 
then the loop was slipped over the candle rod, while the two ends, of course, 
twisted the other way around each other, making a firm wick. A rod with 
its row of wicks was dipped in the m.elted tallow in the pot and returned to its 
place across the poles. Each row was thus dipped in regular turn ; each had 
time to cool and harden between the dips, and thus grew steadily in size. If 
allowed to cool fast, they of course, grew quickly, but were brittle and often 
cracked. Hence, a good worker dipped slowly, and if the room was fairly 
cool, could make two hundred candles for a day's work. Some could dip two 
rods at a time. The tallow was constantly replenished, as the heavy kettles 
were used alternately to keep the tallow constantly melted and were swung 
oflf and on the fire. Candles were also run in molds, which were groups of 
metal cylinders, usually made of tin or pewter: each wick was attached to a 
wire or nail placed across the open top of the cylinder and hung down in the 
center of each individual mold. The melted tallow was poured in carefully 
around the wicks." 

The farmer's kitchen was always large and roomy and the center of the 
home life of the family. The rest of the house was cold and cheerless, but 
the large fireplace in the kitchen made that room, except in the severest 
weather, fairly comfortable. Over the fireplace and across the top of the 
room poles were hung, on which hung the winter's supply of dried fruits and 
dried vegetables. On the pot-hooks were hung the pots and kettles, the prin- 
cipal domestic utensils. Most of the cooking was done in these pots and 

Digitized by 




kettles, and boiling was the favorite method of preparation. Most of these 
pots and kettles were provided with long legs, so that the utensils might be 
set on the hearth and a good fire of live coals maintained beneath them. 
Many of the pioneers' kitchens were provided with iron skillets and Dutch 
ovens, with cover for baking, the *'johnny cake" being a favorite article of 
diet. Every fireplace was provided with andirons, usually made of iron, and 
some of the more pretentious homes had brick ovens built at the side .of the 

Every schoolboy is familiar with the picture of the kitchen fireside in 
Whittier's **Snow Bound," but, as Mrs. Earle has pointed out, "The discom- 
forts and inconveniences of a colonial home could scarcejy be endured today. 
Of course, these culminated in the winter time when the icy blasts blew 
fiercely down the great chimneys and rattled the loosely fitting windows. The 
rooms were not warm three feet away from the blaze of the fire/' Had it 
not been for the great f eatherbeds and , warm comforts and home-made 
blankets, sometimes supplemented by heavy bed curtains, the long winter 
nights could scarcely have been endured. 

At the table the pioneer fared well. Of course, in the very beginning 
many suffered from the want of proper food. Mrs. Lydia Herriott, wife of 
Samuel Herriott, one of the first settlers of Franklin, often told of their 
family being without breadstuff of any sort for a month, but after the clear- 
ings had l3een enlarged so as to provide a plentiful supply of corn, the early 
settlers had little reason for complaint in the matter of food supply. Game 
was everywhere abundant. To quote Judge Banta : 

^'Venison was plenty indeed, and unskillful was that pioneer who could 
not now and then secure one for his table. Many persons kept the larder 
supplied the year round. William Rutherford, on one occasion, knocked one 
on the head with an axe, as it ran past him where he was making rails. One, 
pursued by dogs, took shelter in Gideon Drake's sheep pen adjoining his 
cabin, and Mrs. Drake and a neighbor woman, closing the door of the pen, 
slaughtered it, and made venison of it before the pursuing hunter came up. 
One Sunday morning, shortly after King's cabin was built, Isaac Voorheis 
was sitting on the l)ank of Young's creek, immediately south of Judge 
Woollen's residence. Hearing the bay of a dog up the creek, he looked that 
way, and saw a deer coming toward him. Keeping quiet, it came down to a 
point opposite to him and plunged in, but the current carried it down against 
a log, when Vorheis rusl^ in and caught it, and in his hands it became 
venison for the familv. r . 

Digitized by 



**Wild turkeys were more abundant even than deer. Wherever there 
was food for them they were to be found in goodly numbers. Their 'keonk* 
was a familiar sound to the inmates of every cabin. In the spring of 1823, 
a drove passed over the after-site of Franklin, numerous enough to make a 
well marked trail a hundred yards in width, but they were extremely poor and 
were, no doubt, migrating in search of food. Simon Covert has been heard 
to say that for several years after he moved to the neighborhood of the Big 
Spring, he could at any time within a two hours' hunt during the fall and 
early winter season, kill one or more turkeys. Jacob Fisher was an expert 
turkey pen builder, and thought nothing of catching six or eight turkeys at 
a time in his pen. As late as 1850 flocks of fifty were to be seen in the woods 
in Union township, and in 1856 a wild turkey ^hen hatched a brood within 
fifty yards of John Barlow's house in Clark township. Wild turkeys often 
did much mischief scratching up the newly planted corn, eating it after it 
was grown, and treading down the smaller grain before it was harvested. 
Richardson Hensly, of Hensly township, lost his first planting of corn by the 
turkeys scratching it up. 

*'Men who bring a wilderness, inhabited by wild beasts, to a state of civ- 
ilization, never lack in romantic incidents with which to add flavor to the 
tales told in old age. There are but few, indeed, who do not yield to the 
charm of border-life incident. Men, who came in conflict with the wild 
beasts of the country, necessarily met with experiences that, when after- 
ward related, bordered on the romantic. However dangerous some of the 
encounters had with the wild animals by the pioneer hunters of the county, 
no man ever lost his life, or for that matter, received serious injury, save 
Lewis Hendricks, who lived in the Sugar creek neighborhood, in an en- 
counter with a bear, when he met with an accident that left him disabled for 
life. He had wounded the animal and, in company with a neighbor, was 
hunting for it. One on either side of a brush fence in which it was supposed 
to be lying, they were walking slow ly along, when it rushed out and attacked 
Hendricks. His companion ran to his assistance and shot the infuriated ani- 
mal, but not before it had stripped the flesh from his arm, and otherwise in- 
jured him. 

"Hardly a hunter of any note lived in the county during the first ten 
years, wlio could not boast of his success as a bear hunter. Curtis Pritchard, 
William Spears. Robert Worl and Jacob Woodruff^, while hunting, found 
three full grown bears holed in trees. Kindling a fire in one of the trees, one 
was smoked out and shot. Cutting the tree down, before it fell another de- 

Digitized by 



scended and ran w ith such rapidity as to escape the flying bullets. Five dogs 
pursued it, and after a half-mile chase, brought it to bay. Two of the dogs 
it killed outright and crippled badly two others before it was dispatched. The 
third beast was shot and killed as the tree fell in which it had concealed itself. 
Bear meat was prized by some as an article of food. Benjamin Crews had 
at one time eight hundred pounds of the meat cured and smoked like bacon, 
which he sold for the same price. 

"The most ferocious beast that roamed the woods was the panther. The 
bear, the wolf, and even the deer, would fight savagely when in close quarters, 
but each would run from the hunter whenever it could. The panther, on the 
contrary, was reputed to make battle with man without provocation. Two 
brothers by the name of Smith, living in Nineveh, in the early days, went to 
hunt straying cattle. They carried no guns, and when night came they made 
a camp fire and lay down and slept. During the night one of them was 
awakened by a noise and, stirring the fire to a blaze, he plainly heard a panther 
leap off through the bushes to an open space, not far distant, where it stopped 
and lashed the earth with its tail. Several panthers were shot at Collins' 
Lick, one by a man named John Weiss, and under circumstances showing the 
narrow risk an unskilled hunter sometimes ran. Weiss carried a very in- 
efficient arm and had no experience as a hunter. He went to the lick to 
watch for deer, and while hiding in ambush he happened to look around and 
was horrified to see, close by, a panther crouched, ready to spring upon him. 
Without a thought, he brought his gun to bear upon it and, through sheer 
good luck, shot it dead in its tracks. Weiss never went hunting again. 

**Near the headwaters of Honey creek, Samuel and John Bell were lying 
in wait at a marsh much frequented by deer. The sun went down and twi- 
light was coming on, when Samuers attention was directed to an object crawl- 
ing toward his brother, who was several yards away. It was a panther, and 
he knew enough of the habits of the animal to know it meant mischief. But 
he was an experienced hunter, a good marksman and, withal, had a cool head 
and steady nerves. Taking deliberate aim, he shot the beast through the 
head. More hunters, however, got into trouble with wounded deer than with 
all the other animals of the country. John Smiley once knocked one over, and 
on going to it, it arose to meet him with 'hair turned the wrong way.' Smiley 
sprang behind a sapling and it made a rush at him with lowered antlers. Lay- 
ing hold of a horn on either side of the sapling, he held on for dear life. 
Round and round went both until, wearied with the fruitless contest, the buck 
smoothed its hair in token that his fight was over, when Smiley let it go, and 

Digitized by 



he walked off undisturbed. Joseph Young, of Union township, knocked a 
buck down one day, and on touching its throat with the knife it sprang to its 
feet and made at him. Young jumped behind a large oak tree and the deer 
took after him, but by hook and by crook he managed to' keep the tree between 
him and his assailant, receiving no more than an occasional prick of the horn. 
After its rage had abated, it gave its antlers a toss and disappeared in the 

**One of the most desperate encounters with a wounded deer was had by 
Henry Musselman. To the throat of a paralyzed buck he touched his knife, 
when it gave an unexpected flounce, sending his knife through the bushes. It 
was a powerful deer and the hunter, who had his knee on its head and a firm 
hold of its antlers, saw at a glance that his safety depended on holding it 
down. Of course there was a struggle and, although the advantage at first 
was with the hunter, yet it soon became evident to him that the animal's power 
of endurance was equal to, if not greater than his own. His knife was lost, 
and his unloaded gun w^as leaning against a tree more than twenty feet away. 
What was he to do? Realizing more and more that his safety lay in keeping 
on top, he held on in grim desperation. In their struggle a spice bush was 
broken, and in the splintered stub he thought he saw a weapon of deliverance. 
If he could only put those baleful eyes out, the victory was his. One after 
another he broke off the splintered stubs, and jabbed them into the creature's 
eyes, till their sight was gone, after which he left the blind Sampson of the 
woods to stumble over the logs and thrash through the bushes in impotent 
rage until he could load his gun and give it the death shot. 

^'Another incident in this connection may be mentioned. Jesse Wells, 
an old-time settler on the Blue river, who was long well known as a Methodist 
preacher, was given to hunting. On one occasion he *creased' a deer, and 
proceeded to bleed it. Taking hold of its hind legs to turn it over, the creature 
came to life and, giving one tremendous kick, which knocked the knife so far 
away that it was never afterward found, the animal leaped to its feet and 
furiously assailed him. Wells was a lithe, active man, but in spite of his best 
efforts to secure shelter behind a large poplar tree standing close by, the en- 
raged brute succeeded in piercing his knee with one of the sharp prongs of its 
antler. Once behind the tree, the animal abandoned the fight and disappeared 
in the forest. Jesse Wells ever after walked with a stiff knee, which came 
of the wound received in that fight." 

The pioneers were able to find an abundance of honey of the wild bees 
and some became expert bee hunters and spent much of their time in the 

Digitized by 



woods in this interesting and profitable enterprise. Johnson county was 
blessed with an abundant supply of maple trees and sugar making was every- 
where common. The maple trees were tapped in the early spring time wJien 
the sap began to run, a notch being cut in the side of the tree, a spile of 
pawpaw or elder inserted and the sap drained into a huge trough. It was 
then brought in buckets to the camp and boiled down, either to sugar or 

The first settlers brought with them from their older homes in the South 
and East the cuttings and seedlings for their orchards and vines and there 
was soon an abundance of fruits for the table. Apple, peach and pear 
trees throve, and wild berries and small fruits were abundant. In the autumn 
the housewives prepared large supplies for the winter's need. While they 
lacked the present sanitary methods of canning, dried fruits and preserved 
and spiced fruits were put up in large quantities. The making of apple but- 
ter, peach butter and many fruit liquors was an avocation of every house- 

Within a very few years after the settlement of the county, ** foreign 
merchandise'' began to be brought in by enterprising merchants and the prod- 
ucts of other countries, such as sugar, molasses, tea and coffee, were to be 
had in exchange for the produce of the farm and field. The business must 
have proved profitable, for it was one of the few callings which were re- 
quired to pay a license under the early tax levies. For example a license to 
run a coffee house was issued to Abraham Lay in 1839, and, while license fees 
for retailing "foreign merchandise'' had been fixed in the tax levy of 1826, 
this is the first record found of the sale of coffee in Johnson county. 

Indian corn provided the early settler with the chief articles of diet. Not 
only was the green corn a substitute for bread, hut with hominy, porridge, 
succotash, there was little need for the finer bfeads of the present day. Much 
of the corn was prepared for the table by hand by the means of rude mortars 
and pestles, but, like the saw mills, grist mills were fairly abundant even in the 
beginning of the county's history. Most of these were located on the small 
streams, but a few were driven by horse power. By the middle of the thir- 
ties, the following grist mills had been erected within the limits of Johnson 
county : Smiley's mill ; McDermitt's mill, l^ter known as Beard's mill and 
Clark's mill: Collier's mill, and the Thomas Williams' mill, all on Sugar 
creek: Thompson's mill, on Blue river at Edinburg: Isaac Williams' mill, on 
Nineveh creek: Covert's mill, near Franklin: Houghter's mill. Slaughter's 
mill -and St. John's mill, on Stott's creek in Union township; and Barnes' 

Digitized by 

,y Google 


mill, on Indian creek in Hensley township. These were all rudely constructed 
mills and their product was not of the best, but the pioneer farmer was glad 
to make use of them, even though it took a day to get his bag of com ground. 

Com not only provided food for the table, but it was used in many of 
the games enjoyed by the pioneer children. Checkers, fox and geese, and 
**Hull, Gull, how many'* were all favorite recreations of the boys and girls in 
the pioneer homes. 

A pioneer family was clothed in homespun. The fathers raised sheep, 
but the mothers dyed the wool with home-made walnut and butternut dyes, 
carded it into rolls, spun it into yam and wove the web of the durable jeans. 

One reading the early records sometimes wonders at the large bounty 
offered for the killing of wolves. For each wolf scalp, the hunter was al- 
lowed one dollar, quite a large prize in that early day, and the wolves must 
have been fairly plentiful, for in the year 1828 the county paid a bounty 
for eleven wolf scalps, and in 1829 for fifteen scalps, but of the latter eight 
were from wolves under six months old. It will thus l^e seen that the pioneer 
fanner was much concerned about the lo»s of his flock from these pirates 
of the woods. 

As soon as the early settlers had cleared their fields from stumps they 
planted one field of flax and occasionally one of hemp. The seed was sown 
broadcast and while the flax was growing its cultivation usually depended 
on the women and children. The flax was cut or pulled shortly before it 
was fully ripe and laid out carefully to dry and was turned several times in 
the Sim. It was then "rippled," the stalks of flax being drawn through a 
**ripple'' comb fastened on a plank. After the seed **bolles'' were thus 
pulled off, the stalks were tied in bundles and set up in the field or taken to 
the barns. While in the Eastern states the flax was allowed to stand in the 
fields until the fibers had rotted, in Indiana it was usually taken from the 
barns and spread on the grass at night time to be rotted by the dews. After 
the flax was rotted it was then broken in a flax brake, a heavy base with 
three raised planks set thereon, above which was a top with a plank so set 
as to work between those in the base, the upper portion being worked by 
hand from a pivot at one end. The flax was usually broken twice, so as to 
remove all the outside fiber, and it was then **swingled" with a fork or 
knife to remove any small particles of the bark that still adhered. This 
work must be done in dry weather when the flax was dry. The clean fibers 
were then bunched into "strikes'' and were again "swingled." After being 
thoroughly cleaned it was sometimes "beetled'' by pounding in a trough, so 

Digitized by 



as to make the libers soft and smooth. After this came the **hackling/' and 
upon the number of *'hacklings'' depended the fineness of the flax. **Hack- 
Hng" required much dexterity, for if care was not used all the fiber would 
be converted into tow. The hackles were made of iron teeth set closely 
together in a board, through which teeth the flax, after being slightly 
wetted, was pulled and laid into threads. This process was repeated with 
hackles having teeth set more closely together until the fiber was of suffi- 
cient fineness to be spun. Mrs. Earle thus describes the process of spinning: 
"Seated at a small flax wheel, the spinner placed her foot on the treadle and 
spun the fiber into a long, even thread. Hung on the wheel was a small 
bone, wood or earthenware cup, or a gourd shell filled with water, in which 
the spinner moistened her fingers as she held the twisting flax, which, by 
the movement of the wheel, was wound on bobbins. When all were filled, 
the thread was wound off in knots and skeins on a. reel. Usually the knots 
or *lays' were of forty threads and twenty iays' made a skein or 'slipping.' 
To spin two skeins of linen thread was a good day's work.*' After the 
spinning, the skeins of thread were bleached, sometimes in the brooks, until 
the thread was washed and rinsed to the proper color. 

The farmers* wives and daughters knew how to weave as well as to 
spin, and in nearly every pioneer home was a loom upon which the linen 
cloth was woven. Even after the linen was woven into cloth it still had 
many processes to undergo before it was ready for garments. It was often- 
times worked through as many as two-score processes of rubbing, rinsing, 
drying and bleaching before it was used, but the linen thus made, if it were 
well done, was of the finest quality and had a finish and durability never 
found in the machine-made product. 

Few of the men and boys, however, were able to afford this costly 
garment. Their shirts were usually made from the coarser threads of the 
tow, and, while the garment was prickly to the wearer, it was strong and 
serviceable. Even the women's garments were made of cheaper materials 
than linen, and linsey woolsey, a fabric made of the fibers of flax and wool 
woven together, was the dress worn by women, and not only about the home, 
but on social occasions as well. 

Not only did the housewives weave their linen and woolen garments, 
but the bed spreads and even the carpets were woven on hand looms. The 
pioneer mothers not only spun and wove, but had many other laborious 
duties. The making of home-made soap was one of these. Throughout 
the year scraps of grease and meats were saved, as well as the wood ashes 

Digitized by 



from the great fireplaces. In the early spring time the husband made a 
large hopper or barrel, in which the ashes were placed; water was poured 
on them and the lye caught in a trough beneath. The lye was then boiled, 
with the grease added, until the soft soap became like a jelly and it was 
then ready for use. The housewives also picked the geese and the ducks 
and made the feather beds and pillows. A few made their own brooms, aT- 
though this was not common in Johnson county. 

While the burden of all these household duties fell largely upon the 
women, the men were scarcely less industrious. Farm implements of the 
pioneer days were hand-made and of the rudest character. Col. W. M. 
Cockrum, in his 'Tioneer History of Indiana," gives an excellent account 
of the makeshift implements of the earliest days in Indiana, when nearly 
every farmer was his own blacksmith and carpenter. He says: 

'In the pioneer days, there was no wagon or blacksmith shop in the 
country and the early settlers had to depend on their own resources for such 
farming tools as they needed. They made a very serviceable plow with a 
wooden mould-board. The plow share, point and bar were of iron, all in 
one piece. Three short bolts, two for the mould-board and one to fasten 
the handle to the heel of the bar, and one long bolt from the bottom of the 
share up through the plough sheath to the top of the beam, was all the iron 
about the plow, and that cost more than the best two-horse plow would cost 

"The wooden mould-board was made of the best hard wood obtainable. 
White oak was often used. Post oak was the hardest of any, and vyhen 
dried was the smoothest. After fashioning the mould-board, it was dressed 
down to the proper size and shape and then placed in the chimney above the 
fire to season. The stock was made of the best hard wood and much after 
the fashion of today, only not so smooth nor in aiiy way finished as well, 
but it was strong and serviceable. 

**They had a very serviceable harrow made entirely of wood. They se- 
cured a slippery elm or iron- wood, if they could find any large enough, and 
cut four pieces the proper length for an *A' harrow, first sloping the two 
side pieces at one end, and fitting them to the center or tongue-piece, a hole 
having been bored through each of the three pieces, and securely pinning 
them together. A cross-piece was then placed about the middle of the har^ 
row and pinned to the center and the two side pieces. Two inch aug^er 
holes were then bored along the side pieces about ten inches apart and filled 


Digitized by 



with dried hickory pins that extended about eight inches below the side tim- 
bers, thus making a harrow that did good work and required a heavy pull 
to break in any way. 

"For single and double trees, they made them much after the fashion of 
today, except that the clips, devices and lap-rings were made of hickory 
withes, which, if properly made, would last for a season. The horse collars 
were made mostly of corn shucks, platted in large rope-like sections, and 
sewed together hard and fast with leather thongs, to make the bulge or 
large part of the collar, short pieces of platted shucks being made and fast- 
ened up as high as needed. A roll made by sewing two platted parts to- 
gether was securely fastened on the edge of the collar, forming a groove 
for the hames to fit in. They also made collars of rawhide, cutting it in the 
proper shape and sewing the edges together, stuffing the inside with deer 
hair to make it hold its shape. Hoop ash timber was pounded up fine and 
when mixed with deer hair made a better material for the purpose than the 
manufactured excelsior of today. 

"The bridle was made of rawhide. For a bit, they took a small hickory 
withe, made a securely fastened ring on both ends of it, leaving enough of 
the withe between the rings to go into the horse's mouth, and wrapping that 
portion with rawhide to keep the horse from biting it in two. A bridle 
. was made very quickly by securing a piece of rawhide long enough for the 
reins, then putting the leather in the horse's mouth and looping it around 
his lower jaw just back of his front teeth, and with this a horse was guided 
better and with more ease than with the bridle bit. 

**A wagon that was termed a truck was made by cutting four wheels 
from a large tree, usually a black gum. A four-inch hole was made in the 
middle of the wheels, in which axles fitted. Then splitting a tough hickory 
or white oak pole three or four feet at the big end, spreading these split 
pieces apart about fifteen inches, and boring two holes through the front 
axle and the two ends of the tongue, they then fitted a piece called a sand- 
board over the ends of the tongue with holes in it to correspond with those 
in the axle. Having pinned it all securely together, they fastened the end 
to the front end of the wagon. A coupling pole was fitted into the center 
of the two axles and pinned there. Heavy bolsters were put on over the 
axles and on them a board bed was made. 

"Oxen were the usual teams that were hitched to these crude but serv- 
iceable wagons. A heavy w^ooden yoke went on the oxen's neck. Two 
hickory bows enclosed the neck and up through the the top of the yoke, thus 

Digitized by 



fastening the two oxen together. There was a hole made in the middle of 
the yoke, and a strong hickory withe was fastened into it with a loop for 
the end of the tongue. A better ring was made for the tongue and fast- 
ened to the yoke by twisting into a strong cord a heavy rope of rawhide. 
The tongue was put into this rin^ and a pin of wood through the end of 
the tongue before and behind the ring. These wagons were very service- 
able for hauling wood, gathering com, and for many other purposes on the 
farm. They were very musical as well, for the more grease one put on the 
wooden axle to make it run lighter, the more it would squeak, making a noise 
that could be heard a mile. 

"The pitch forks for all purposes on the farm were made of wood. A 
young forked dogwood sapling was secured, the bark taken off, and the two 
forks pointed for tines, and this made a good fork. Wooden rakes were made 
of strong seasoned wood, some of them being made by fitting the head piece 
with deer horns, and they made very useful implements. A good spade was 
made of hickory and, if properly seasoned and kept well oiled, this tool would 
do good work as long as wanted. Sleds were made in many ways and were 
universally used by all who had either oxen or horse teams. In early times 
the hickory withe and deer hides were used for all purposes on the crude 
farming implements, as is the binder twine and fencing wire of this period." 

But it must be remembered that in Johnson county the village smithy 
and shop followed hard upon the footsteps of the first settlers, and the pioneer 
farmer in this county, if he had the money, was not left entirely to his own 
resources. Most of them chose, however, to fashion their own implements, 
as they did the little household furniture they required. And, like the Ken- 
tucky pioneers who passed through the cane-brakes of what is now the "Blue 
Grass Country'' to settle upon the hills where fuel and water was abundant, 
the Johnson county pioneers settled on the highest and dryest lands, near a 
spring, if possible, to avail themselves of the l)est that nature had provided 
for home making. 

The work in the fields was of the character rendered necessary by the 
want of good implements for the clearing of the lands and the cultivation of 
the soil. After the ground was cleared for the small field of corn it was 
broken and dragged or harrowed, and then '*laid off'' with a single shovel 
plow, generally in both directions. At the intersections of the furrows the 
com was dropped by hand and covered with a hoe. In the com planting 
the women and children were usually relied upon to drop the corn, but the 
men as well girded themselves with aprons, knotted in front, and helped in 
planting the com crop. As one could drop as much as two could cover, effort 

Digitized by 



was soon made to find an implement that would save the labor of the hoe. The 
**grasshopper/' a small side-bar plow, and later the **straddle-jack/' two 
small plows set so as to straddle the row, were the first improvements upon 
the work of the hands in covering corn. A **jumping-jack/' for the same use, 
was a small shovel plow run in the row and lifted at the hill so as to cover 
the corn. The next time-saver invented was a "marker," used to lay oflf the 
rows transversely, and next came the corn drill and corn planter, the latter 
making its appearance in Johnson county alx)ut the middle of the fifties. 
The check rower did not make its appearance until about the time of the 
Civil war, and it is worthy of note that one of the first types of this machine 
was invented by a citizen of Johnson county and thereafter manufactured 
under the name of the Hayworth check rower. In the wheat fields the crop 
was in the beginning reaped with a hook, but the cradle was also in use from 
the beginning of the county's history. The first of the wheat harvesters to 
make its appearance in Johnson county was known as Mann's patent. One 
of these was brought to the county by John T. For sy the as early as 1855, 
and it was a one-wheel machine with a sickle and canvas carrier which car- 
ried the wheat from the sickle to a platform elevated fourteen or fifteen 
inches, from which the wheat fell into a concave box resting against teeth 
fashioned like a revolving hay rake. One man drove the machine while his 
helper, sometimes a boy, sat with his back to the driver and when the box 
filled with wheat, revolved the lx)x so as to throw out the sheaf ready to be 
bound. Isaac Bergen and John P. Banta also owned harvesters of this type. 

During the latter part of the fifties other harvesters, notably the Ball, 
the Kirby, the Manny and the Kentucky harvesters, came into use. The Ball 
had two wheels and the wheat fell from the sickle upon a platform arid was 
raked off in bunches by a boy sitting with his back to the driver. The one- 
wheeler Kirby was of almost the same type, except that the helper stood and 
removed the straw with a hand rake ; the Manny was a much larger machine, 
on which two men besides the driver rode and bound the straw as it was 
elevated to a small platform. The Manny met with little favor because of 
its weight upon the horses' necks. 

The Marsh harvester, patented in 1858. was of the same type as the 
Manny. The Dropper came into use early in the sixties and continued to be 
quite generally used until after the middle of the seventies. The first self 
binder brought into the county, of which the writer has been able to get 
precise information, was purchased by "Uncle Matt" Alexander, about the 
year 1878. A year previous Daniel Deupree, living just north of Edinburg, 
but in Shelby county, had bought a self-binder, and within a year or two 

Digitized by 



many of the prosperous farmers had followed his extmple. When first in- 
troduced the self-binder was an object of much curiosity and men drove for 
miles to see the new-fangled implement. These were wire binders, the twine 
binders not coming into use until about the year 1883. 

After his wheat crop was harvested, the pioneer farmer removed his 
sheaves to the bams, and in the beginning was obliged to beat the grain out 
wath a flail, tossing the wheat in sheets that the wind might blow the dry chaflf 
out. The better class of farmers had their bams provided with threshing floors, 
on which the sheaves were laid and small boys rode unshod horses around 
over the straw, with men turning and removing the straw until the grain was 
tramped out and w^orked to the bottom. Hand mills were then used to blow 
out the chaflf and dirt. Sometimes the horses were hitched to a beam fastened 
to an upright revolving in the center of the threshing floor, the horses being 
led by a pole extending from the upright. 

The first machine for the threshing of wheat was called the "ground- 
hog,'' a huller set in the field between the stacks of wheat and operated by 
horse power. The **ground-hog'' did not separate the wheat from the straw, 
but men stood at the tail end of the machine with forks and removed the 
loose straw, the remainder being fanned out at the barns. In a few years 
probably about the middle of the fifties, came the separator, driven first by 
eight, then by ten to twelve liorses. The horse-power machines were driven 
by a tumbling shaft which ran from the "power" to the thresher. The band- 
cutter, standing next to this shaft, had to be very careful to avoid the danger 
of being caught. Steam power was first used with separators in Johnson 
county about the beginning of the Civil war, but in 1864 a distressing acci- 
dent drove the steam engine out of favor. In that year near the present site 
of New Bargersville an engine attached to a wheat separator blew up, killing 
Commodore Tresslar, James Utterback and a boy and seriously injuring 
others. At about the same time a like engine exploded at the state fair 
ground, killing more than a score of people, among whom were some citizens 
of Johnson county. The farmers feared a repetition of these accidents, and 
it was past the middle of the seventies before the steam engine returned to 
favor in the threshing field. The "blower'' w^as still later coming into use. 
Many men yet in middle life worked on the straw stack and remember the 
overpowering dust at the mouth of the carrier. With the coming of steam 
power it was no longer necessary to stack wheat in the field. Still later came 
the traction engine, the self-feeder and the automatic weighing device with 
machines capable of threshing two thousand bushels of wheat per day. 

When the famier was not busy in the field he found work in clearing 

Digitized by 



his lands, and the best timber was split into rails. Johnson county was 
favored by a fine growth of timber suitable for rail making, and it has only 
been within the last twenty-five years that the farmer was obliged to resort 
to other materials for his fencing. 

One of the few diversions of the pioneer was the neighborhood shooting 
match. To these contests marksmen came for miles around and the rivalry 
at the matches, while friendly, was always very keen. The weapons were 
usually home-made, muzzle-loading rifles and, in the hands of the pioneer 
marksmen, were a very accurate and deadly weapon. Every neighborhood 
boasted its champion marksman and a few marksmen, notably William H. 
Barnett, Jonathan Yount and Thomas Stine, had a reputation countywide. 

Muster days and election days were occasions eagerly looked forward 
to by the pioneer residents, and they were always made the occasion of more 
or less hilarious conduct. Election days were much more exciting than those 
of the present day. Indeed, for weeks before the election the excitement 
was intense, manifesting itself in great party meetings at the county seat. 
The diflferent parties, toward the close of the campaign, held their meetings 
on alternate Saturdays and great was the rivalry between the parties in the 
matter of parades, torch-light processions and erection of party poles. In 
these campaign meetings each community vied with its neighbor in the ar- 
rangement and decoration of floats, in the arrangement of drum corps and 
horseback troops, and after the election the victors always met for jollifica- 
tion meetings with parades and torch-light processions, the marchers carry- 
ing banners taunting their opponents with defeat. The last of these ex- 
pressions of partisan sentiment to arouse much enthusiasm in our county were 
the parades and meetings held in the city of Franklin during the general 
election of 1892. 

Digitized by 




The ordinance of Congress of date July 13, 1787, providing for the 
government of the territory of the United States northwest of the Ohio 
river declared certain articles should be considered an unalterable compact 
between the original states and the people and states in the new territory. 
Among these, Article 3 declared that ** Religion, morality and knowledge 
being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools 
and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." 

The act of Congress of date April 19, 18 16, to enable the people of 
Indiana to form a constitution and state government, made certain proposi- 
tions to the convention, "for their free acceptance or rejection," of which 
the first was: "That the section numbered 16, in every township, and when 
sttclrk section has been sold, granted or disposed of, other lands equivalent 
thereto and most contiguous to the same shall be granted to the inhabitants 
of^ ^uch township for the use of schools." Another section reserved two 
^w^t:irt townships for the use of a "seminary of learning." These proposi- 
tion r:i.s were favorably received by the constitutional convention, which ratified 
thi^x-m by the vote of June 29, 181 6, and the new state government made 
pi"<i>^v^ision for rural schools, for county academies and for a state university, 
all ^Free and open to the people of the state. 

"None of the lands that had been granted to the state by the federal 

g^^^'^^mment for school purposes could be sold until 1820, and actually none 

^'^T-^ sold until eight years later. The legislation, from time to time, for 

. P^^t>l ic schools was as advanced as in any of the states, but there were no 

'^^''^cis to maintain the authorized schools. There were many reasons for 

™is the sparseness of the population, slender school revenues from taxa- 

^*^>^»^, lack of qualified teachers, opposition of the few and indiflference of the 

^^Tiy vvho needed their children to work at the clearing of the forest arid 

^^^ planting and gathering of crops. Superintendent Cotton reminds us 

^^^t: 'the settlers were busy felling the forest, draining swamps and making 

boTTics. They exhausted their time and energies in providing for their 

^^tnilies tlHj necessities of life and in baffling malaria. They had no leisure 

Digitized by 



for the contemplation of educational problems, and the spiritual life had to 
wait. The day of free schools was afar off and illiteracy grew apace.* Even 
the elementary schools were left to private enterprise." — Levering, "His- 
toric Indiana," page 421. 

In Johnson county none of the school sections were sold in the regular 
way until 1832. In that year Pierson Murphy, school commissioner by appoint- 
ment of the county board, conveyed a part of section i6, now in Needham 
township. In 1834 he conveyed parts of the school sections in Union and 
White River. The sale of school lands progressed slowly, however, a few 
being made by Dr. Murphy in 1836 and 1837, and by his successor, Thomas 
Alexander, in 1838. As late as 1854 some of the school lands had not been 
conveyed, the county auditor having succeeded to the duties of school com- 

But this is not to say that education was being neglected in all parts 
of the county. In many places throughout the county, according to tradition, 
schools were being conducted in the settlers' cabins and in the "meeting- 
houses.*' The act of January 27, 1824, had provided that lands might be 
conveyed to trustees for the use of schools, meeting houses and Masonic 
lodges, and some neighborhoods had, probably as early as 1827, by voluntary 
donation of a building site and material, erected log houses for the three- 
fold use mentioned in the statute. In that year Jefferson Lowe, of White 
River township, conveyed to Daniel Boaz, Andrew Brown and John Grose- 
close two acres of land in the northeast corner of section 8. "for the use of 
a school, meeting house and a public burying ground." 

Rev. P. S. Cleland, in his "Quarter Century Discourse," delivered at 
Greenwood, December 18, 1864, is authority for the statement that a school 
society was formed in Greenwood on the 4th day of January, 1826, and 
trustees were chosen to receive title to lands donated by Garrett Brewer and 
Isaac Reed for a school house, meeting house and burying ground, but if 
such be the case action was delayed, for no such conveyance was actually 
niade until April 30, 1832. 

At the March term, 1829, the board of county justices order Thomas 
Williams, county agent, to convey to trustees for the use of the citizens of 
Franklin and vicinity a lot on which to erect a school house. The deed was 
not executed, however, until July 2, 1831, at which time lot number i in the 
Old Plat was conveyed to Hezekiah McKinney, Robert Gillcrees and John 

In the latter year the town of Flemingsburg was platted, one lot being 

Digitized by 



reserved for a school house and a second for a meeting house. This separa- 
tion of the communit}'^ interests was well considered, as the holding of school 
and church in the same room was likely to lead to a conflict. The circuit 
rider could not always time his visit to a Sunday meeting, and in such event 
he must use the only house in the neighborhood suitable for preaching. In 
one of the earliest conveyances made for a joint school and church house a 
happy solution of the difficulty is met by a compromise. John S. Barger, 
making his deed under date of August i8, 1831, imposes the following con- 
ditions: "The above house is also intended for a school house for the in- 
struction of the children. And the teacher is to permit the minister to 
preach at the hour of twelve o'clock on a week day, if it is not practicable 
for the circuit preacher to attend on the Sabbath. And if at any future 
time there should be a Sabbath school, the school is to give way at the hour 
of preaching". 

A brief sketch of the school law of 1831 is of interest as showing forth 
the educational affairs of that day. By section 37 of the act approved Febru- 
ary 10, 1831, it is provided that tjie township trustee should divide his town- 
ship into school districts and appoint three sub-trustees for each district. The 
next section requires the sub-trustees to call meetings of the householders 
and freeholders of the district at some convenient place, "and after making 
known to such meeting the law on the subject of township schools, shall 
proceed to take the sense of the meeting by ayes and noes, in writing on the 
question, whether they will support a public school for any number of 
months, not less than three in each ^ear." If the vote favored such support 
the sub-trustees select a site for a school house as near the center of the 
district as possible, "taking into view its convenience to water, fuel and 
healthiness," and appoint a time for the inhabitants of the district to riieet 
and commence the building of a school house, "said house to be of brick, 
stone, hewn timber or frame, according as a majority of said inhabitants 
may agree. Every able-bodied male person, of the age of twenty-one years 
and upward, being a freeholder or a householder, shall be liable equally to 
work one day in each week Gntil such building may be completed or pay 
the sum of fifty cents for every day he may so fail to work. 

A later section provides that as soon as the school house is in readiness 
the tnistees shall call a meeting of the voters of the district at the school 
house and "take the sense of such meeting whether they will suffer any 
proportion of the tax, if any tax be necessary for the support of such school, 
to be raised in money, and, if so. what proportion and the time they may wish 

Digitized by 



to employ a teacher. These trustees are also to make out a list of the taxa- 
ble property of the district, but special provision is made **that no person 
shall be liable for such tax unless such person wishes to and does participate 
in the benefit of such school fund." No person could be employed as a 
teacher until he produced the certificate of the township trustees "that they 
have examined him touching his qualifications, and particularly, as respects 
his knowledge of the English language, writing and arithmetic, and that in 
their opinion, he will be a useful person to be employed as a teacher in said 

In 1838 the Legislature required the circuit court of each county to 
appoint three suitable persons as examiners of common school teachers, but 
"the certificate of any such examiners shall only be used as auxiliary to aid 
trustees in determining qualifications of teachers and shall not entitle the 
possessor to employment without the examination and approbation of the 
trustees. No school could receive public aid unless "there is a school house 
in the district (either built or adopted) of convenient size, with sufficient 
lights, and that it is so furnished and reps^ired as to render the teachers and 
pupils comfortable." 

These provisions of the law outran public opinion on the necessity of 
education at the charge of the public, and so far as the records show, no 
tax for schools was ever levied in Johnson county until the same was made 
compulsory under the Constitution of 185 1. Public-spirited citizens, how- 
ever, continued to support schools in nearly every corner of the county.* 
Especially after 1837, at which time many land owners began to donate 
school house sites to the "Inhabitants of School District No. — ," houses and 
grounds ample to accommodate the children of the county began building. 

As the time for the adoption of a new Constitution drew near the ques- 
tion of the public school support became poignant, and at least three times 
the citizens of Johnson county voiced their sentiments 6n the same at the 
polls. At the August election, 1849, 604 votes were cast in favor of a school 
law of the proposed character, and 1,190 were cast against "public schools." 
A year later the vote stood: For, 588; against, 1,054; and in August, 185 1, 
the question was again submitted, with the following result : 

Township. For Common Schools. Against. 

Nineveh 72 105 

Clark 76 36 

Hensley 31 iCO 

White kiver 69 80 

Union 22 87 

Digitized by 



The vote in Blue River, Pleasant and Franklin is not of record. An 
interesting side-light on the sentiment of the times is also seen on the vote 
at the same election (1851) on the proposal to exclude negroes and mulattos 
from the United States. The vote is as follows : 

Township. Exclusion No exclusion. 

Nineveh 164 6 

Clark 62 17 

Hensley 121 i 

Blue River 116 14 

Pleasant ^'. iii 2 

White River ^ 138 6 

Franklin 359 52 

Union loi 3 

The vote of Johnson county on the two propositions named are not 
flattering to us, and yet the record is fairly indicative of the state of culture 
of the period. After the adoption of the Constitution of 185 1 a great im- 
petus was given to school work, and the several townships of the county 
soon took steps to levy a tax for the support of schools. Even yet, however, 
opposition was sometimes met. The records show that on October 3, 1853, 
an election was held at Worthsville to vote upon the question whether a 
school tax should be levied upon the inhabitants of said township. The 
vote was in the affirmative, but so close that contest proceedings were filed 
before the county board. And it would seem that the new law did not at 
once and everywhere result in the erection and maintenance of school build- 
ings, for as late as 1856 school was taught in a room at the court house. It 
must have been a "loud'' school, the order of the board reciting that Pro- 
fessor Brand must vacate the room in the court house now occupied as a 
school room, "as it operates to the serious disadvantage of the county 

Of the earliest "district schools," which were really private schools con- 
ducted by teachers who were itinerants, for the most part, no record is left. 
John L. Jones, the oldest living ex-teacher in the county, attended a summer 
school at the Union meeting house in 1832. The school was taught by 
William Bond, a Kentuckian, in the old hewed-log meeting house. The boys, 
many of them clad in leather breeches, and the girls in homespun, sat stiffly 
erect on log slabs, each reciting in turn to the teacher. One little girl pupil 
had a pet fawn, which, like Maty's littlfe lamb, followed her to school, much 
to the diversion of the other children. In the earlv forties he went to 

Digitized by 




Columbus to attend a school conducted by Professor Pigeon, a pedagogue 
with a wide reputation for liberal learning. Returning from school he him- 
self became a teacher and in 1843 opened a school in a log school house near 
the former farm house of Peter D. Banta in Union township. He con- 
tracted to take one-half his wages, amounting to ten or twelve dollars, in 
cash, the balance to be paid in merchandise. Of the merchandise he secured 
enough jeans to make a pair of pants and with a part of his cash he bought 
calico for a coat, and this became his outfit of wearing apparel for his first 
time in Franklin College the next year. The late John C. Miller was one of 
his pupils, and the teacher recalls that young Miller brought to school as his 
only text book a pioneer history of Kentucky, with the back off and in a 
much dilapidated condition. 

Of these and other early schools the following sketch by B. F. Kennedy, 
one of the early teachers of Hensley township, will illustrate the methods 
and manners then in use : 

**To go back to the schools under the management of the first genera- 
tion, the generation of entry, we have to record a system of many faults, but 
the primitive beginning rapidly developed into the present school system. 

**The generation of entry built the little log school houses. These were 
built of round logs. In raising, the corners were taken by four pioneers, 
who, with axes, notched and saddled the logs as they went up. This process 
was continued until a sufficient height was reached, when there was a gradual 
tapering to the-comb. The rib poles were then placed on from the eaves to 
the comb, three and one-half feet apart. Upon these were placed the four- 
foot boards which were weighted down with poles steadied in place by the 
white oak hearts. The spaces between the logs were chinked by oak hearts 
and daubed with mud. The stick-and-mud chimney was wide enough to 
take on great backlogs five feet long. The floor was made of split halves of 
great logs, called puncheons. A long window, made by displacing one log, 
extended the entire length of the room. The window panes consisted of 
thick greased paper. Split halves of logs, with wooden legs, served as seats. 
A large writing desk under the window across the room was held by three 
great wooden pegs driven into the wall. The holes were bored with a two- 
inch auger. The building was then ready for school. 

"Before the opening of a term of school the teacher woukl canvass the 
district with his article. It is impossible to give the numerous fonns of 
articles which were used. One sample is sufficient: 

'' 'I, John Dunn, agree to teach an English school (here state county. 

Digitized by 



township and district) for the term of six months, at $ per scholar; 

to begin (date). Will teach spelling, reading, writing and arithmetic as far 
as the single rule of three. My government will be: for being idle, two 
lashes with beech switch; for whispering, three lashes; for fighting, six 
lashes; for pinching, three licks across palm of hand with my ferule; for 
tearing the books or thumbing, four licks with ferule across palm of hand. 

" *We, the subscribers, agree to pay said Dunn in vegetables, such as 
potatoes, onions, beets, cabbage; in fruit, such as apples, peaches; in corn, 
bacon and wheat, all at market prices or money in payments; last payment 
at end of term. (Following this were the names of subscribers and number 
subscribed by each.) 

" 'We, the subscribers, further agree to furnish said Dunn a house, or 
we agree to board him according to number subscribed.' 

"Note. — One proposition was house for the teacher with a family. The 
other was for a single man. 

"In those school houses the lessons were studied aloud. The recitations 
were in classes consisting of one to the class, and the custom was that the 
first who entered the school house in the morning was the first to recite. 
After the first recitation it was the general rule for those following to recite 
in the order in which they reached the teacher's side. Some of those races 
were amusing. Every one spelled from the old Elementary Webster book. 
The readers were the old English Reader and 'Robinson Crusoe.' Ne?^ 
were Goodrich's History and McGuflfey's readers. The first arithmetic was 
Guthrie's ; next two were Smiley's and Pike's. These were grand old books, 
which contained shillings and pence for money. The introduction of Ray's 
arithmetic was in 1848. From that date dollars and cents superseded the 
shillings and pence form of money exchange. I should note that as advance- 
ment gradually progressed stronger teachers appeared and were candidates 
for schools. These new teachers taught much the same as the first class of 
teachers. Arithmetic was taught through the single and double rule of 
three. The advancement was that the teacher proposed to teach, in addition 
to the last teacher's proposal, 'square and cube roots.' Those old pioneer 
teachers were not exact in morals. At least some of them were not, but the 
teachers of the second generation were found generally worthy and better. 
Many of them taught the 'eight branches,' using the following books: Mc- 
Guflfey's speller and readers, Olney's and Mitchell's geographies, Ray's arith- 
metic and algebra; Kirkham's grammar, Goodrich's history, Comstock's phys- 
iology and copy books. The second generation built the small box frame 

Digitized by 




school houses with window sash and pane. These buildings contained 
stoves, seats with tops to write on, shelves to hold books and slates, with 
places in the top for the inkstands. Steel pens were used instead of goose 
quills and good ink instead of that made from red oak pods and pokeberries. 

"The system of schools of the second generation has passed on, but a 
few of those good old teachers still live and a few of those framed box 
houses are still in use in some counties. The third kind of school house is 
the brick with ante room and deposit room and many improvements in fur- 
nishings and in beautifying and enclosing the yard. An entire change has 
been made in text-books, and there is systematic grading from the first 
through the eighth year and on through the high school. 

'*The schools from 1816 to 1839 were controlled by the township. The 
school board consisted of three members, a president, secretary and treasurer. 
Those men, under the school provisions of 181 6, had much authority to 
arrange and levy taxes. The principal burdens, however, were paid by 
manual toil, the citizen receiving, so much per day for his labor, which was 
to liquidate the tax assessment. That system was done away with by the 
act of the convention of February 10, 185 1. After that each township was 
controlled by a trustee elected by the voters of his township. 

"The school of the first generation had customs that have almost 
passed away — the base play called 'the playing of base;' the ball play called 
'bull pen.' Base consisted of two sides evenly chosen by two captains. The 
two homes were two or three hundred feet apart. When ready, one captain 
would call to the other, 'Give us a dare.' The other captain would start out 
one of his swiftest runners, who, if bold enough and had the confidence in 
his ability to make a circle around the other captain's base would bring off 
to his captain's base a prisoner by so doing. When he made his start the 
other captain would send one of his fleetest runners after him. By this the 
excitement and anxiety were great, and one after another, in regular order, 
members were sent from each side, until the two bases were deserted for the 
time. In such rates both bases would lose many and the result would be a 
victory to one or the other side. Frequently those races by fleet and active, 
nervy boys would not end in time for books. ' Over the plain, fields, hills, 
crocks and valleys would the chase continue, sometimes until tiipe to dismiss 
school. Again, another way of the pl^y was that leacb side would have a 
prison to retain the captured. Those priiions would be l^rge trpes some few 
rods frorp the base, and when a prisoner was taken he was put on the 
prison and closely watched to keep anyone from his base from retaking him. 

Digitized by 



This would very frequently bring into the race every one from each side. 
If the prisoner were reached and touched with the hand of one on his side 
he was released from prison and given the right to enter again the play. 
'Bull pen' was a great play. One side was in the pen, the other side on the 
comers. The yarn ball covered with leather sewed around it carefully was 
rapidly passed from one base to another until a throw at those in the pen 
was made, and if one were *hit' all the side on the corners ran, and some 
member of the party in the pen would hastily pick up the ball, run to the 
edge of the pen and if he could hit one of the runners it would save the one 
struck in the pen. Those plays were of much exercise and gave delight to 
all. Another play was *hide and seek.' Another was 'ante over/ very much 
enjoyed by all. It is naturally the general opinion of the older generations 
that those plays of our first schools have not been bettered by the many 
changes made since. 

"Another custom of the first schools, that of turning the teacher out at 
Christmas, has passed aw^ay. A treat was the universal demand of the 
schools. Those treats generally consisted of several bushels of apples and a 
holiday of a week. Many plucky teachers resisted the move. Then the 
door and chimney were barricaded and the teacher was not permitted to 
enter till he accepted the terms demanded by the school. Those parleys 
would, sometimes, last a week and the determined teacher would be chased 
day and night till he capitulated or was caught, taken to the creek, ice broken, 
and ducked until he came to terms. On some of these occasions the teacher 
held out firmly, gave up his school and went elsewhere. That custom has 
passed away long ago. 

"The old teacher, generally of the first generation, and many of the 
second generation, used the arithmetic keys to Smiley 's and Pike's arith- 
metics. Some of the teachers of the second generation can today boast of 
having in their libraries keys to Davies', Ray's, Loomies' and Robinson's 
mathematics. But that custom is of the past. In the schools of the first 
generation very few of our county seats even had a graded school ; some had 
what then was called an academy. Those academies had one teacher only, 
who taught the 'common branches,' with algelwa, geometry, physiology and 
sometimes Latin. Our townships had no high schools, and very often the 
higher studies were not pursued in the entire county. At that time the coun- 
ties had a school examiner, which, under the revised school law in 1873, 
was changed to county superintendent, who t^ a revision act of the school 
law was given the duty of county visitation of schools. Those old examin- 

Digitized by 



ers, many of them, were business men and some were lawyers; some were 
county officers ; some were one thing and some another. In an examination 
the teacher had an easy time. There was nothing to interrupt his happiness 
and nothing to change his equiHbrium. Frequently those examinations 
would be held while walking from the street to the office of the examiner. 
One one occasion an examiner, a lawyer, was met on the streets by the can- 
didate and after the greeting informed the examiner that he wanted a cer- 
tificate. On their way to the office the examiner asked the candidate, 'How 
many genders have nouns?' The candidate's answer was Tour.' *A11 right,' 
said the examiner, *of course you could name them.' On to his office and 
after a little conversation the examiner wrote him out a two years' certifi- 
cate. Again, an old lawyer who filled the office had a class of about twenty. 
After seating them he began a conversation on teaching. Then, taking his 
chalk, he went to his little blackboard and began a discussion on decimal 
fractions. He gave some examples and after doing the principal part of the 
work himself, took his blanks, filled them out, gave his teachers good advice 
and dismissed them. On another occasion, when there were two examiners, 
a county treasurer and a lawyer, an applicant applied and was examined by 
both. The lawyer's examination was: *It rains. What does it stand for? 
Give its antecedent.' The treasurer took up an old arithmetic. Gave: 
*What is the interest on $ioo for i year i mo. i8 days at 6 per cent? What 
is percentage?' The exaipination closed and the candidate walked out with 
a two years' license. One more : An elder of the church and examiner was 
the teacher of a county-seat school. A candidate went into his recitation 
room where he had a large class at the board. When he mentioned his 
business the elder asked him to wait an hour, when he would be through with 
the forenoon's work. After dismissal he asked the candidate to take a piece 
of chalk and write the following on the board: *God said, Let there be 

light, and there was light.' 'Mr. , will you please punctuate 

that sentence?' After which the candidate was given a two years' certifi- 
cate and kindly invited tcr dinner." 

Much valuable information as to the early schools of Johnson county is 
found in Judge D. D. Banta's History of Johnson County (1888), pages 
361-368, but a later and more general review of educational conditions of the 
early days is found in a series of articles written by him for the Indianapolis 
News, and published in weekly installments running from January 6 to 
March 16, 1892. The same are herewith reprinted that they may be available 
to local students of such conditions : 

Digitized by 



"There is a class which entertains the belief that the early settlers o£ 
Indiana were not as well educated as were the early settlers of her sister 
states. I think this belief was quite generally entertained a half century 
ago, and, perhaps, even later by the people of these sister states. I do not 
know why this belief should be held by any one today. I know of no reason 
why the Indiana pioneers should not be considered as the equals in every 
respect of the pioneer settlers of any of the other states at that period. 

"It is stated by Gilmore, in 'The Advance Guard of Western Civiliza- 
tion,' that of the two hundred and fifty-six settlers who moved in 1779-80 to 
the after site of Nashville, all but one could write his name. Of thirty-six 
settlers on the north side of the Ohio, within the present boundaries of the 
state of Ohio, who signed the petition directed to Lieutenant-Colonel Har- 
mer, in 1765, one only signed by his mark. Mr. Roosevelt, in writing The 
Winning of the West/ had occasion to examine a great many documents 
written and signed by the pioneer Tennesseans and Kentuckians, and he 
gives testimony as following : 

" Tn examining original drafts of petitions and the like, signed by the 
hundreds of original settlers of Tennessee and Kentucky, I have been struck 
by the small proportion — not much over three or four per cent, at the out- 
side — of men who made their mark instead of signing.' 

"I have no doubt that the same fact would appear from an examination 
on as large a scale of original documents signed by the Indiana pioneers. 1 
have done a little of that kind of work myself and have found the same re- 
sult that Mr. Roosevelt did. 

"Of course, all the schools of the pioneering period were inferior to 
the schools of today. In methods and appliances the schools of the two per- 
iods were as wide asunder as the poles, but in results, take it school for school 
and month for month, I am inclined to think the difference was not so very 
marked. Dr. Boone, in his 'History of Education in Indiana,' does not, as I 
remember, discuss this question, but if he did he would hardly agree with me. 
Nevertheless, the evidence is abundant that the pioneer schoolmasters were, 
in general, fairly efficient workers in the schoolroom. 

" However much or little of school training the Indiana pioneers had, 
of two facts, I think we may be assured : First, they differed, as a class, in 
no respect as to their education, from the pioneer settlers of any other state 
of that period ; second, the sentiment quite generally prevailed among them, 
as it did with the people of all other states, of an earnest desire that their 


Digitized by 






children should enjoy far more excellent educational privileges than had 
fallen to their own lot. Or, in other words, they entertained, in common 
with all the United States people of their day, the American idea of the great 
value of school training. Of the truth of these two propositions I think there 
can be no doubt. Dr. Boone, in his history, makes it quite plain that later 
on in Indiana there came a time when there was a seeming indifference in 
educational affairs that was not at all creditable to the people of the state, 
but that charge can not in justice be laid to the door of the first comers. The 
truth is that long before any steps had been taken in Massachusetts or New 
York, or anywhere else in the western world, looking to a free-school system 
to be supported by the state, Indiana, in her organic law, had made provision 
for a system of free education, commencing in the township schools and end- 
ing in the state university, and but for the great poverty of the people, which 
rendered the scheme absolutely impracticable, there can be no doubt that there 
would have been a free-school system in active operation in this state twenty 
years or more before the first blundering steps were taken toward it in any 
other state. 

"If one would take the time for it he might secure quite a varied and 
extensive assortment of 'first schools' in the state. Randall Yarbro, who 
came to Clark county in 181 o, said: 'What was probably the first school in 
Indiana was opened in 1811 in Jeffersonville, near the river bank.' From a 
work entitled 'Indiana Methodism* I quote : 'The first school of any kind in 
the territory of Indiana was taught one and a half miles south of Charles- 
town, in 1803.' In the summer of 1796 Volney visited Vincennes, and de- 
clared that nobody ever opened a school among the French there till it was 
done by the Abbe R. [Rivet], a missionary banished hither by the French 
Revolution ; and he adds the further statement that 'out of nine of the French 
scarcely six could read or write, whereas nine-tenths of the American emi- 
grants from the east could do both.' From the testimony of John Tipton, 
a capital-site commissioner, we are w^arranted in believing that a Frenchman 
taught school in an Indian village situated on what is now the northwest 
corner of Johnson county, before M. Rivet's day. 

*'The first scliool witliin the present borders of the state was a French 
school, probably at Vincennes. and the first .\nglo-American school was 
taught in Clarksville. whose settlement was begun not later than 1785, and 
probably two or three years before that. At any rate the place was a 'small 
towm' in 1789, and although it was never a place of more than a few log 
houses, we might safely assume that schools of some sort were provided for 

Digitized by 



the children of the settlement, for this would accord with what I believe to 
have been the unvarying American practice. After the peace of Greenville, 
in 1795, the Clark's Grant settlement naturally grew faster than it did before, 
and in 1800 its population numbered nine hundred twenty-nine. Surely 
there must have been schools maintained by this time. But we are not left to 
conjecture merely. From the old records of Clarksville, kept from the first. 
there are frequent entries relating to the schoolhouses and schoolmasters al- 
most from the very first. 

*'The presumption is next to conclusive that a school was opened \\\ 
Dearborn county prior to 1802. In the spring of 1796 sixteen families 
moved across the Big Miami and became the first settlers of Dearborn county. 
They had settled on the Ohio side of the Miami three years before, and dur- 
ing their first three years' sojourn there they organized a school and brought 
in the first schoolmaster known to that part of the country, one Isaac Polk, 
who *was known far and near as Master Polk.' What these sixteen families 
who moved on southeastern Indiana soil in the spring of 1796, and who were 
joined by four or five of the families of the Ohio neighborhood the same 
year, did in the matter of schools, the most of history, unfortunately, has 
not seen fit to say. We are left to conjecture, but with the record made dur- 
ing the three years of their residence in Ohio, we may feel very confident 
that the year of their moving, or at farthest the following one, marked the 
advent of the schoolhouse in southern Indiana. 

"Without further discussion, we may accept that in general, whenever 
and wherever a neighborhood contained enough children to warrant the enter- 
prise, a schoolmaster was secured and a school was opened. But it must be 
remembered that neighborhoods in the early days covered far wider reaches 
of country than is generally the case now. To that schoolhouse south of 
Charlestown referred to in the 'History of Methodism in Indiana,' D. W. 
Daily, of Clark county, went when a boy, walking a distance of three miles 
through the woods. Young Daily's school path, like thousands of others, 
was not very plain, and was sometimes crossed by wild and savage beasts. 
His devoted mother, realizing the dangers that beset her boy, went with him 
part of the way every morning, carrying her youngest born in her arms, and 
every evening she met him on the way as he returned to his home. One of 
the first school;? taught in Spencer county drew children to it from a distance 
of four miles in every direction, and it was by no means uncommon fo^' 
school children to trudge, morning and evening, three and four and even 
more miles to attend their schools. 

Digitized by 



**In the beginning, houses were not built exclusively for school uses, if an 
unoccupied cabin or other place was found available for the purpose. The 
first school, taught in Martinsville, certain chroniclers say, was a summer 
school on a gentleman's porch, by Dr. John Morrison. There are others, 
however, who insist that the first school was taught in a barn by James Con- 
way. Bams were not infrequently turned into summer schoolhouses during 
the pioneer educational periods. The first school taught in Newburg, Warrick 
county, was in John Sprinkle's barn, and many other barns were given up 
during part of the temperate season to the pedagogue and his pupils. Mills 
were also utilized on occasions. The first school ever taught in the English 
language in the town of Vevay was by John Wilson, a Baptist minister, in a 
horse mill. An early schod in Waynesville, Bartholomew county, was 
taught by a retired distiller in a blacksmith shop, which school, for reasons 
not stated, was attended by young men and boys only. In Spencer county 
a deserted tannery was utilized. In Knox, in Jackson, and perhaps else- 
where, the old forts, after the close of the Indian wars, were turned into 
schoolhouses. In the towns of Franklin, Brownstown, and some others, the 
log court houses were occupied between courts. In Dubois county Simon 
Morgan, the county recorder, kept school for many years in the recorder's 
office. John Godlove, of Delaware county, taught one of the first schools in 
the precincts of his own kitchen, while in every county south of the Wabash, 
and doubtless, north of it also, abandoned cabins of one kind or another 
were quite frequently used for school purposes. 

"The appropriating of the mills and the forts, of the barns and old cabins 
for schools was, however, the exception and not tVie rule. The rule was that 
if a house of some kind was not found ready-made when the time for organ- 
izing a school came around, those expecting to be its patrons usually made 
short work of building one. The first were the plainest and cheapest form 
of log cabin. The neighlx)rs of the Stotts settlement on White river, in 
Morgan county, began and finished ready for occupancy their schoolhouse 
in one day. Of course, it was the rudest of log cabins, but it may well be 
supposed that there were hundreds of not much if any better in Indiana from 
first to last. I have been told of one such that was built and occupied in 
White River township, in Johnson county, at a very early day. It was a 
pole cabin without window, floor or chimney. The fire was kindled on a 
raised c\xy platform or hearth in the center, and the sparks and smoke 
escaped throt^ a large opening in the roof. The children sat on benches 
next the walls, facing the center, and studied their lessons by the light that 

Digitized by 



came whence the smoke escaped. The house was modeled, evidently, after a 
hunters* camp. In another part of the same county, a first temple of learning 
was erected and finished without windows or openings for the light to come 
in save at the door and the wide throat of the enormous chimney. A similar 
one was a schoolhouse in Nashville, this state. We usually associate with 
the primitive schoolhouses the ^'greased paper windows,'' but the truth is, 
'paper glass' marked a step in the process of the evolution of these structures. 
In the history of Spencer county the statement is made that the first school- 
houses had uncovered openings through which the light entered. There 
were first school houses elsewhere in the state that were without windows. 
The paper covering, made transparent by a free use of hog's lard or bear s 
oil, had not yet been thought of, but was to come as an improvement and 
mark an era in the improvement of schoolhouse architecture. The settle- 
ment of Spencer county was begun as early as about 1812, and the statement 
may well be true, for its earliest-built schoolhouse belonged to the first of the 
territory. In Blue River township, Hancock county, the first one was built 
of logs and had five comers. It was not chinked and daubed, had no 
windows, and but one door. This must have been as late as 1830. The 
uncovered openings of the Spencer county houses are suggestive of the port- 
holes in the blockhouses built during the early days as a protection against 
the Indians. It is a well-known fact that after the final cessation of Indian 
hostilities the old forts were in some instances converted into schoolhouses, 
and I find it recorded that a school was taught in 1808 in the dwelling house 
of John Winder, 'which house was almost a fort,' having been constructed 
with special reference to making resistance against attacks of Indians. In- 
deed, there is direct authority for the statement that schoolhouses were con- 
striKted in Washington county with portholes for shooting at the Indians, 
and if in Washington county, we have good reason to suppose that they were 
likewise so constructed elsewhere at the same time. I have not come across 
any record or tradition to show that a cabin full of school children was ever 
beleagured in Indiana, or even that the schoolmasters of the state ever at any 
time carried rifles to their schools with which to defend their scholars in case 
of attack; but when we remember how very few of the specific acts of a man 
or of men, which belong to every-day life and are not required by some law to 
be entered of record, find their way into history books, w^e can see that school- 
masters may have gone armed to their schools here in Indiana, and the fact 
remains unknown : and I have no doubt they did. 

"While the old schoolhouses were, whatever their dimensions, generally 

Digitized by 


1 i'i 


jonxsox corxTV, Indiana. 


rectangular in shape, this was not always true. I find an account of two in 
Orange county, in Northwest and Southeast townships respectively, that seem 
to have been five-sided, one end being built 'in the shape of a fence corner 
for a fireplace.' This unique style of architecture may have been practiced 
elsewhere. In fact, a five-cornered schoolhouse was erected in Hancock 
county as late as 1830. 

**Can those who attended the old cabin schoolhouses ever forget the total 
want of everything connected with them that was calculated to cheer and 
comfort the youngster in his ascent of the hill of knowledge? No attempt, 
whatever, was ever made by the men who constructed these houses toward 
beautifying them in any degree, and, judged by the standards of today, not 
much was done with a view to securing the comfort of the children. 

"The following description of an old time schoolhouse and its furnish- 
ings is taken from 'Recollections of the Early Settlement of the Wabash 
Valley/ by San ford C. Cox : 

" The schoolhouse was generally a log cabin with puncheon floor, "cat 
and clay'* chimney, and a part of two logs chopped away on each side of the 
house for windows, over which greased newspapers or foolscap was pasted 
to admit the light and keep out the cold. The house was generally furnished 
with a split (splint) bottom chair for the teacher, and rude benches, made 
out of slabs or puncheons, for the children to sit upon, so arranged as to get 
the benefit of the huge log fire in the winter time, and the light from the win- 
dows. To these add a broom, a water-bucket, and a tin cup or' gourd, and 
the furniture list will be complete.' 

"The writer omits one imf)ortant adjunct, viz., the writing-table or 
bench, as it was in some schoolhouses not inappropriately called. This usually 
consisted of a broad board, sawed or sometimes rived, nailed to stout pins 
driven into holes bored in the logs at a proper slant upward beneath the long 
window. In the absence of a suitable board, a puncheon hewn to a smooth 
face, or even a half -log so hewn and mounted upon pins driven into the wall 
or upon stakes driven into the earth, was made to serve the purpose of a 
lighter writing table. 

"It would be a waste of words to point out the squalor and discomfort 
of the old cabin schoolhouses. Most of us, how ever, who caught glimpses of 
learning within their portals in our younger days, think we treasure very 
tender recollections of them, but I suspect the tender recollections are of the 
youthful friendships we then formed, and of the surrounding woods and 
streams that witnesses indulgence in all manner of lawful sports, without a 
shadow of fear of trespassing on the rights of others. 

Digitized by 



"Before advancing upon the 'masters/ the books, the methods, the man- 
ners and the customs of the pioneer schools, something ought to be said of 
the pioneer children who made these schools a necessity. 

"Let me recall the reader's attention to the long paths that ofttimes 
stretched their serpentine ways between the cabin homes and the cabin school- 
houses — two, three and even four miles long, they sometimes were. In 
general it was a fall or winter school that was kept — most generally a winter, 
for every child big enough to work was required at home to aid in the sup- 
port of the family. We of today, with our farms all made and with a super- 
abundance of farm machinery, can scarcely conceive of the extremities to 
which the pioneer farmers were often driven to secure the planting, tilling 
and harvesting of the crops. And so the children, in the beginning, could be 
spared best in the winter seasons, and in consequence the country schools were 
in general winter schools. 

"Happy were those children who had a fall school to attend ! The long 
and winding school-paths threaded a region of delights. What schoolboy or 
schoolgirl of those far-off days can ever forget the autumn wood, with its 
many-hued foliage, its fragrant and nutty odors, its red, ripe haws, and its 
clusters of wild grapes; its chinquapins (acorns of the pin oak) and its hick- 
ory nuts? - And think of the wild life that was part of it all? Gray squirrels 
barked and chattered from tree to tree, while the voices of glad birds were 
heard amid the branches from sun to sun. And the school-paths themselves ! 
Were there ever such paths as those winding over hill and through hollow, 
and filled, as they were, with dainty, rustling leaves that were as cool and 
soft to schoolboy foot as silken carpet? 

"But how different the winter school ! When the snow* came, block- 
ading the paths, how it tried the temper of the young folk who were limited 
to one pair of shoes per winter. And how infinitely worse was it when the 
winter rains came. The whole face of the Indiana earth, whether along the 
country roads, in the cleared fidds or in the woods, was filled with water like 
a sponge, and the most careful of school children seldom failed to reach 
school or home with feet soaking wet. Fifty years ago it was not the fashion 
for boys to wear boots. For that matter there were few men in the country 
places that wore them, while boot or bootee for girl or woman was not even 
to be thought of. Riding astride or making a speech would have been no 
more shocking, and so boots were seldom or never seen in the schoolroom, 
but it was the custom of both boys and girls, on occasion, to draw over the 
ankle and the top of the shoe a sock or stocking leg, or a piece* of cloth, which. 

Digitized by 




being well tied to shoe and ankle, kept the dry snow out of the shoe fairl)- 

"I have known boys and girls to attend school in the fall long after the 
hard frosts came, and even after the ice began to form, with their feet encased 
in old socks or stockings so badly worn at the toe and heel as to be fit for no 
other purpose than wearing in this manner, and so common an occurrence 
was it that no one thought it worthy of special attention. Sanford Cox, in 
his 'Wabash Valley,' draws a graphic word picture of the town of Lafayette, 
as it appeared to him about 1825, in which he tells us that he had 'often' seen 
the Lafayette juveniles skating upon the ice, *some with skates, somje with 
shoes, and some barefooted.' It would seem that if the boys of Lafayette 
were of such hardy nature we might expect to find in some other places satis- 
factory evidence that the winter weather did not deter the barefooted from 
attending school. I have, accordingly, carefully looked through such records 
as have fallen in my way, and candor compels me to say that I have found 
only one other instance. This is related by the author of the 'History of 
Monroe County,' who says: 

" 'It was then the custom to go to school, winter and summer, bare- 
foot. That seems unreasonable, but it was done, and how ? The barefooted 
child, to begin with, had gone thus so long that his feet were hardened and 
calloused to resist the cold by several extra layers of epidermis. He could 
stand a degree of cold which would apparently chill him to the bone, and 
could walk for some time in the snow and frost without suffering more than 
he could bear with reasonable fortitude. When he had to do extra duty in 
the snow and cold, however, he would take a small piece of board, say a foot 
wide and two feet long, which had been seasoned and partially scorched by the 
fire, and after heating it till it was on the point of burning, he would start on 
the run toward the schoolhquse, with the hot board in his hand, and when his 
feet became too cold to bear any longer, he would place the board upon the 
ground and stand upon it till the numbness and cold had been partly over- 
come, when he would again take his 'stove' in his hand and make another 
dash for the schoolhouse. Sometimes a flat, light piece of rock was substi- 
tuted for the board and was much better, as it retained heat longer.' 

"While we may feel assured that there never was a time when it was 
the fashion in Indiana generally for the children to attend school in the winter- 
time barefoot, nevertheless I have no doubt that during the territorial and 
early state periods it so frequently occurred as to occasion little or no remark. 

"I find but^one reference as to the buckskin clothing worn l^ school chil- 

Digitized by 



dren during the earlier periods mentioned. In the early school of Vander- 
burg county the local historian tells us that the boys wore buckskin breeches 
and the girls wore buckskin aprons. Though this is the only statement found 
by me, yet there was a time when buckskin clothing must have been as com- 
mon with school children, especially boys, as it was with their fathers. 

"One of the greatest drawbacks to the efficiency of the pioneer schools 
was the want of competent teachers. This want was felt from the very be- 
ginning and continued on down for many years. 'The pioneer teachers were 
generally adventurers from the East or from England, Scotland, or Ireland, 
who sought temporary employment during winter, while waiting for an open- 
ing for business,' said Barnabas C. Hobbs on one occasion. The Southern 
states furnished their quota, and western Pennsylvania was not behind any 
section of equal area in the number sent forth to become educators of the 
youth of the land. Of course there were many of the old-time teachers who 
were admirably equipped for their work, and who did it so well that they 
found a place in the lasting remembrance of their pupils: but while this is 
true, it is. on the other hand, equally true that the admirably equipped teachers 
were the exception. So loud were the complaints of the inefficiency of the 
school teachers throughout the state that they reached the ears of the governor. 
In his annual message to the Legislature, in 1883, Governor Noble thus calls 
attention to the subject : 

" *The want of competent teachers to instruct in the township schools 
is a cause of complaint in many sections of the state, and it is to be regretted 
that in employing transient persons from other states, containing but little 
qualification or moral character, the profession is not in that repute it should 
be. Teachers permanently interested in the institutions of the country, 
possessing a knowledge of the manners and customs of our extended popula- 
tion, and mingling with it, would be more calculated to render essential service 
and be better received than those who come in search of employment.' And 
he proposes as a remedy for the evil the establishment of a seminary for the 
special training of our native teachers, or the incorporation of the manual 
, labor system with the preparatory department of the Indiana College at 

" In the beginning of our state's history and for many years thereafter 
the people held in slight esteem the vocation of the pedagogue. Not because 
he was a pedagogue, but because he did not labor with his hands. Lawyers 
and ministers and even doctors who did not show their mettle now and then 
by acts of manual labor were very apt to receive less favor at the hands of the 

Digitized by 




people than otherwise. An Indiana secretary of state once, while in office, 
kept a jack for breeding purposes, and he caused the announcement to be made 
through the newspaper that he gave to the business his personal attention. It 
was considered a very proper thing for a secretary of state to do. This one 
was an invincible politician before the f>eople. It is related of an early Posey 
county teacher, one Henry W. Hunt, that when he first applied for a school 
the peopleJooked upon him as a 'lazy, trifling, good-for-nothing fellow who 
wanted to make his living without work.' What was true in Posey in peda- 
gogue Hunt's case was generally true in every pedagogue's case throughout 
the state. 

"Teachers quite often in those days went on the hunt for their schools. 
They were a kind of tramp — homeless fellows, who went from place to place 
hunting for a job. When the prospect seemed good the candidate would 
write an 'article of agreement,' wherein he would propose to teach a quarter's 
school at so much per scholar. With that in hand he tramped the neighbor- 
hood over, -soliciting subscribers, and, if a stranger, usually meeting with more 
scorn than good-will. He was too often esteemed a good-for-nothing who 
was too lazy to work. 'The teachers were, as a rule,' says the historian of 
Miami county, 'illiterate and incompetent, and selected not because of any 
special qualifications, but because they had no other business.' The only re- 
quirements were that the teachers should be able to teach reading, writing 
and ciphering. The teacher who could cipher all the sums in Pike's arith- 
metic, up to and including the rule of three, was considered a mathematician 
of no mean ability. 

"The wages i>aid the ordinary teacher were not usually such as to give 
respect to the profession. One of the curious chapters of the times is the low- 
wages paid for all manner of intellectual labor. The governor received only 
one thousand dollars per year, and a judge of the circuit court but seven hun- 
dred dollars. Teachers w^ere by no means an exception to the rule. Rev. 
Baynard R. Hall, the first principal of the State Seminary, at Bloomington, 
came all the way from Philadelphia to accept of the place at a salary of two 
hundred and fifty dollars a year, and John M. Harney, who subsequently made 
such a figure as editor of the Louisville Democrat, walked all the way from 
Oxford, Ohio, to apply for the chair of mathematics at a like salary, also, of 
two hundred and fifty dollars per annum. Jesse Titus, an early schoolmaster 
in Johnson county, taught a school during the winter of 1826-27 at one dollar 
per scholar, which yielded him six dollars per month, out of which he paid his 
board of one dollar per month. The first school taught on the present site of 

Digitized by 



Moore's Hill was by San ford Rhodes, in 1820, at aeventy-five cents per quarter 
for each pupil, which was paid mostly in trade. In 1830 John Martin taught 
in Cass county at eight dollars i>er month. Seventy-five cents per quarter was 
a price quite commonly met with as late as 1825, or even later, but the price 
varied. In some sections one dollar per scholar seems to have been the regu- 
lar price, in others one dollar and fifty cents, while in a very few instances 
two dollars wasj)aid. In many cases, probably a majority, the teacher was 
obliged to take part of his pay in produce. I find wheat, com, bacon, venison 
hams, dried pumpkin, flour, buckwheat flour, labor, whisky, leather, coon 
skins and other articles mentioned as things given in exchange for teaching. 
\\t the expiration of the three-months' term,' says one writer, 'the teacher 
would collect the tuition in wheat, corn, pork, or furs, and take a wagon-load 
to the nearest market and exchange it for such articles as he needed. Very 
little tuition was paid in cash.' One schoolrrjaster of the time contracted to 
receive his entire pay in corn, which, when delivered, he sent in a flat-boat to 
the New Orleans market. Another, an Orange county schoolmaster, of a 
somewhat later period, contracted to teach a three-months' term for thirty- 
six dollars and fifty cents, to be paid as follows : *Twenty-five dollars in State 
scrip, two dollars in Illinois money, and niqe dollars and fifty cents in cur- 
rency.' This was as late as 1842, and there were seventy school children in 
his district. 

"A large per cent, of the unmarried teachers 'boarded around.' and thus 
took part of their pay in board. The custoip in such cases was for the teach- 
ers to ascertain by computation the time he was entitled to board from each 
scholar, and usually he selected his own time for quartering himself upon the 
family. In most instances, it is believed, the teacher's presence in the family 
was very acceptable. The late A. B. Hunter, of Franklin, once taught a school 
under an agreement to board around, but one of his best patrons was so de- 
lighted with his society that he invited him to make his house his home during 
the term, which invitation the young man gratefully accepted. It was not the 
practice for the married teachers to l>oard around. If not permanent resi- 
dents of the neighborhood, they either found quarters in the 'master's house,' 
or in an abandoned cabin of the neighborhood. Qiu'te common was it to find 
a 'schoolmaster's house,' which had been erected by the district, hard by the 
school house, for the use of the married masters. 

"The school terms were usually called 'quarters.' There were two kinds 
of quarters known in some localities, the 'long quarter' and the 'short quarter.' 
The long quarter consisted of thirteen weeks, and the short quarter of twelve 

Digitized by 



J ■': 




"Notwithstanding the people were inclined to look upon the pioneer 
schoolmasters as a lazy class, yet they were looked up to perhaps as much if 
not more, than in these days. I have already said that the presence of the 
schoolmaster as a boarder in the family of his patron was welcome, for he was 
generally a man of some reading, and his conversation was eagerly listened to 
by all. Books and newspapers were scarce in those days, and so conversation 
was' esteemed more than it is now. 

**A few years ago I had occasion to look into the standing and qualifica- 
tions of the early teachers of my own county, and on looking over my notes 
I find this statement : *A11 sorts of teachers were employed in Johnson county. 
There was the **one-eyed teacher," the "one-legged teacher," the "lame 
teacher," the "teacher who had fits," the "teacher who had been educated for 
the ministry but, owing to his habits of hard drink, had turned pedagogue," 
and "the teacher who got drunk on Saturday and whipped the entire school 
on Monday." ' A paragraph something like this might be truthfully written 
of every county south of the National road, and doubtless of every one north 
of it, but as to that I speak with less certainty, for want of knowledge. The 
lesson the paragraph ix)ints to is that whenever a man was rendered unfit for 
making his living any other way, he took to teaching. Mr. Hobbs, I believe, 
states that one of his first teachers was an ex-liquor dealer who, having grown 
too fat to successfully conduct that business any longer, tui-ned schoolmaster. 
It is related of the- first teacher of the first school in Qay township, in Morgan 
county, that he was afflicted with phthisic to such a degree that he was unable 
to perform manual labor; but he was a fairly good teacher, save when he felt 
an attack of his malady coming on. That was the signal for an indiscriminate 
whipping.' The first schoolmaster of Vanderburg county lived the life of a 
hermit, and is described as a 'n|de. eccentric individual, who lived alone and 
gained a subsistence by hunting, trapping and trading.' John Malone, a 
Jackson county schoolmaster, was given to tippling to such excess that he 
could not restrain himself from drinking ardent spirits during school hours. 
He carried his bottle with him to school, but he seems to have had regard 
enough for the proprieties not to take it into the schoolhouse, but hid it out. 
Once a certain Jacob Brown and a playinate stole the bottle and drank till 
they came to grief. The master was, of course, properly indignant, and 'for 
setting such an example,' the record quaintly says, 'the boys were soundly 
whipped.' Wesley Hopkins, a Warrick county teacher, carried his whisky to 
school in a jug. Owen Davis, a Spencer county teacher, took to the fiddle. 
He taught what was known as a *k)ud school,' and while his scholars roared 

Digitized by 



at the top of their voices the gentle pedagogue drew forth his trusty fiddle 
and played *01d Zip Coon/ The Devil's Dream/ and other inspiring profane 
airs with all the might and main that was in him. Thomas Ayres, a Revolu- 
tionary veteran, who taught in Switzerland county, regularly took his after- 
noon nap during school hours, * while his pupils, ' says the historian, 'were sup- 
posed to be preparing their lessons, but in reaHty were amusing themselves by 
catching flies and tossing them into his open mouth.' One of Orange comity's 
early schoolmasters was an old sailor who had wandered out to the Indiana 
woods. Under his encouragement his pupils, it is said, 'spent a large part of 
their time roasting potatoes.' About the same time William Grimes, a teacher 
still further southwest, 'employed his time between recitations by cracking 
hickorynuis on one of the puncheon benches with a bench leg/ 

"How hungry did some who were boys here in Indiana fifty years ago 
become for something fresh and entertaining to read! Often have I heard 
that lover of good books, the late A. B. Hunter, of Franklin, tell the story of 
a book that was owned by a man living on the outskirts of his neighborhood. 
He had read everything owned by the neighbors that he cared to read, and 
now came the story of a new )x)ok — one unlike anything that he had thus far 
seen, and he was wild to get hold of it. At last there came a day when his 
father could spare a horse from the -plow, and young Hunter went in pursuit 
f)f the new l)ook. which was found, borrowed, and subsequently read with a 
zest almost unknown up to that time, for it was one of Sir Walter Scott's 
immortal stories. 

**It seems to me that scarcely any other thing so distinctly marks the 
difference between the present and the past of which I am writing, as the 
great scarcity of reading matter in that past, compared with its great abund- 
ance now I think it not too much to say that in my own 'Shiloh neighbor- 
hood,' all the books, excluding Bibles, hymn books and spelling books, owned 
by the neighborhood, could have been packed in a bushel basket. I call to 
my mind 'Hozzy's Life of Marion,' 'Trumbull's Indians,' 'Carey's Olive 
Branch/ a ^Natural History,' 'Western Adventure,' a 'Life of Selkirk,' 
* Young's Night Thoughts,' 'Josephus,' and 'Pilgrim's Progress,' and that was 
about all. No wonder if a boy living in that neighborhood would become so 
hungrj' for something to read that he had recourse to the inside of the lid of 
a certain big box in which was stored the family linen, that he might read the 
two exposed pages of a copy of the Western Luminary that had been pasted 
thereon The story may seem incredible, but that boy thus read the two 
pages of that old Luminary many a time, and every thne he did so he imagined 
he found a freshness in it that was charming. 

Digitized by 





I'- 1 

*'But it is to the school books, or rather want of school books, of that 
time that I wish to cAll attention. There were comparatively few school 
books published in thdse days. Every school child, at least after learning 
the letters, was expected to have a spelling book, and Dillworth's and Web- 
ster's American were Ufeed in the beginning. The child who had not been 
taught Iiis letters out Oi a Bible or hymn lx)ok at home, usually brought a 
primer. I have, howcVer, seen a paddle with the alphabet pasted thereon 
used instead of <\ primer or spelling book. I never saw Dillsworth's Web- 
ster's elementary spelling book, the most wonderfully successful strictly edu- 
cational book that was ever published in America, at an early day occupied 
the entire field in Indiana, and practically held it until the appearance of 
McGufifoy'j: Jiclectic Speller, which was published somewhere about 1850. 
The elementary served the double purpose of spelling book and reading 
book. The old schoolmasters placed great stress on spelling. The custom, 
it is believed, existed universally in the country schools, at least up to and for 
some tin-c after 185O. for the whole school to stand up twice a day and spell 
for head. A lialf-day in every week was given to a spelling match, l)esides 
which night spelling schools were of frequent occurrence. No one ever grew 
so large or so learned that he was exempted from the duty of spelling. I 
have known the head man of a long row of pupils to spell the first word with- 
out dictation, after which the next in line would spell the next word, and so on 
down to the foot, and then from the head on down again. The words in the 
elementary spelling book were generally written in a sort of rv'thmical order 
which made them easy to memorize. There were spellers who claimed to 1^ 
able to spell correctly every word in it. 

'*I have said the elementary spelling book was used as a reader as well 
as a speller, and so it was. On nearly every page was reading matter made 
up of moral sentences in each of which was usually found one or more words 
belonging to the annexed sj^elling lesson. It was the practice to teach a pupil 
to spell first, after which he might read. Some teachers, after the scholar 
had learned to spell sufficiently well, required him to pronounce the words in 
the book at sight, and after he was able to do this sufficiently well he was 
formally set to reading. The 'pronouncing lesson,' as it was called, may 
have had its uses, but 1 have no doubt that many a pupil was reading quite 
well at home before being allowed to read at school. Do I not remember 
the first reading lesson in the elementary spelling book? No matter if the 
pupil could pronounce at sight all the words in the book, Charles Disbrow. of 
blessed memory (my old teacher), insisted that he who was going to take the 

Digitized by 



long leap into the reading world should read the first lesson. As the boy who 
could read the Testament at home and pronounce all the words of the spelling 
book at school stepped up to read his first and formal lesson, consisting of 
words of three letters, how silent that hitherto loud school would become, 
and how loud his own voice would sound as he read : 

" 'She fed the hen. The old hen was fed by her. See how the hen can 

"Was ever ordeal worse than that? After the book had l>een read 
through and through, say half a dozen times, another reader was in order, 
provided it could be had. There were few school readers in those days. 
Here and there was to be found an old copy of the 'English Reader' or the 
'Columbian Orator.' Rev. George K. Hester tells us that he read a dream 
book and 'Gulliver's Travels.' I have seen Gulliver myself in the schoolroom ; 
and so of the 'Life of Marion,' 'Pilgrim's Progress,' histories, sermon books 
and the Holy Bible. Henry Eaves, a pioneer schoolmaster of Switzerland 
county, in his extremity, took the Frankfort Argus into his school, which 
served the uses of a 'reader.' About 1835 B. T. Emerson's readers came into 
use to a limited extent. Somewhat later — ^five years, perhaps — McGuffey's 
Eclectic series appeared and ultimately occupied the field to the exclusion of 
all others. The introduction of this series marked an era in the schools of 
the state. They were of incalculable benefit to the people of the Western 
country. I think it not too much to say that the higher readers of the series 
did more to cultivate a taste for the better American literature than any other 
books of that day. But for them the names of Percival, Bryant, Longfellow, 
Hawthorne, Irving, Paulding and other American authors of the first half- 
century would have been known to few indeed of the school children of Indi- 
ana of thirty and forty years ago. 

"The pupil having learned to read sufficiently well, he was next set to 
writing. The mothers usually made the copy-books by sewing a few sheets 
of foolscap together. The geese furnished the quills that were fashioned 
into pens, and the ink was home made. Maple bark, sumach and oak balls 
and vinegar were the materials out of which most of the ink of that period 
was made. In its season pokeberry juice was sometimes used, but. notwith- 
standing its ornamental capabilities, its use was never very general. It was 
too apt to sour. The inkstands were generally home-made also. A favorite 
inkstand was a section of a cow's horn, sawed off and fitted with a wooden 
watertight bottom. Another favorite one was made of lead or pewter. 
Many of the boys of the old school days understood the art of casting ink- 

Digitized by 


t . 


Stands. The pupil's first exercise in writing was the making of *pot-hooks' 
and hangers. In the ftdness of time his teacher would set him his best round- 
hand copy, and in doing so he never failed of placing before the eyes of the 
scholar some moral or patriotic precept worthy of his remembrance, such as, 
'Commandments ten God gave to men'; ^Eternal vigilance is the price of 
Liberty' ; 'Washington was the father of his country' ; 'Evil communications 
corrupt good manners.' 

"The next thing in order for the boys was arithmetic. Not many girls 
gave any attention to this study. Not much was ever said about it as a girls* 
study, but I think it was generally considered that the girls did not have 
'heads for figures.' Instead of arithmetic, they took to geography and gram- 
mar, when they tobk to anything. It was the practice with a good many 
teachers to require their arithmetical scholars to copy all the 'sums' in a 
'ciphering book.' George Adams, who attended school in Johnson county 
away back in the twenties, had, a few years ago, such a book, and judging 
from it the writer must have understood fairly well his subject. Students 
in arithmetic never recited, they simply 'ciphered.' The teacher seldom paid 
any attention to them unasked. The boys usually helped each other, but 
when help failed in that quarter the teacher would, on request 'work the sum.' 
The majority of teachers though they had done all that was necessary when 
that much was done. Sometimes a boy would 'sneak' his arithmetic and slate 
into the school and ^cipher' for a considerable time before the teacher dis- 
covered it. I did this myself, and traveled over addition, subtraction, multi- 
plication and short division, before my teacher let on that he knew what I 
was about. I had reached long division, which I found so very hard that I 
broke down at it in despair. Washington Miller, my old teacher, seeing my 
trouble, came to me, and without any reproaching gave the needed assistance, 
and thence on I was recognized as an arithmetical student. My friend, Mr. 
Hunter, who is mentioned above, went to school to a teacher who did not pre- 
tend to teach arithmetic beyond the 'single rule of three.' Young Hunter 
had advanced beyond that. He took his seat in the schoolhouse, however, 
and ciphered away till he went through the book. There was a greater variety 
of arithmetics than any other school book. Pike's was the one most generally 
in use. The familiar pages of a copy of this old veteran are now before me. 
Their matter consists of abstract rules and of examples. I am not much 
surprised that I stalled on the long division hill on that school day so long 
past. 'Take for the first dividend as few of the left hand figures of the 
dividend as will contain the divisor, try how often they will contain it, and 



Digitized by 



set the number of times on the right of the dividend/ and so on. Not a word 
of explanation; no development of the process; nothing but the abstract rule. 
The other arithmetics of the time were Smiley's, Bennett's, Jess's, Dillworth's, 
Western Calculator, and probably some others. Smith's and Ray's appeared 
shortly before 1840, and in five or six years the latter had the field. 

"The geographies used were Moore's, Woodbridge's, Smith's and Olney's. 
The.^e were the only school books, and there were very few children who did 
not delight to turn the leaves of a geography and look at its pictures. Lindley 
Murray's English grammar was the first in the field; after that came Kirk- 
ham's. There was not much studying of either geography or grammar in 
the early days. As to the former, it was considered a proper enough study 
if one had the time to spare for it, but by some the study of the latter was 
deemed useless waste of time. As late as 1845 ^^^ trustees of Vevay in em- 
ploying a teacher required in the written contract that he should *not teach 

"The first schools I attended were *loud schools.' Loud schools were 
the rule in the beginning here in Indiana ; silent ones were the exception. The 
odds in the argument were believed to be in favor of the loud school. A cele- 
brated Scotch teacher, Alexander Kinmont, of Cincinnati, as late as 1837, 
would conduct school by no other method. He claimed that it is the practical, 
philosophical system by which boys can be trained for business on a steam- 
boat wharf or any other place. Both boys and girls spelled and read at the 
tops of their voices, on occasion, and sometimes the roar of their lesson-get- 
ting could be heard for a half to three-quarters of a mile. It is not much 
wonder that Owen Davis took his fiddle to school and solaced himself by 
playing airs while his scholars were shouting over their lessons. The teacher 
of a loud school who would keep his pupils at work labored under a great 
disadvantage. The idler who was roaring at one word, or over a line of 
poetry, or trumpeting through his nose, was, for aught the teacher knew, 
committing his lesson. It was said of one boy in an Orange county school 
that he ^repeated the one word "heptorpy" from morning till noon and from 
noon till night in order to make the teacher believe that he was studying his 

"Fifty or a hundred years ago the swishing of the switch was heard 
everywhere, in the family circle and in the schoolhouse. throughout the length 
and breadth of the land. The fathers made their children *mind.' The switch 
was the usual instrument, and its prompt and free use doubtless gave birth 
to such expressive phrases as 'lick and a promise,' 'the word with the bark 

Digitized by 


I \ 


on/ and *tan your jacket/ The schoolmaster, standing in the place of the 
I patent, punished as freely and savagely, and usually with the full approval of 

the parent.. One of the most curious phases of the flagellating period was the 
almost universal prevalence of the sentiment that the schoolmaster who neg- 
lected the frequent use of the rod was a failure as a teacher. I had a friend 
who, much less than fifty years ago, was in the habit of occasionally playing 
pedagogue. In one of his schools he had a nice company of country urchins, 
between whom and himself there was the very best of feeling. After the 
school had run smoothly for a month or six weeks and no whipping done, 
his patrons began to think something was wrong. One morning one of them 
met him and bluntly told him that he was making a mistake — that he was 'not 
whipping anybody.' *Why, who'll I whip?' he asked. *Whip Sam,' was the 
prompt answer. *What for? He's lazy. I know; but I can't whip him for 
laziness, can I ?' asked the pedagogue. *Yes, give it to him. Sam's my boy 
and I know he needs it every day.' 

*'Now and then the circumstances were so ludicrous that the master's 
punishment, instead of inspiring terror, provoked laughter. I once heard a 
story told on a Johnson county teacher to this eflfect: He was in the habit 
of opening his school with prayer. His pupils, for some reason distrusting 
his sincerity, sometimes during the services would wink and smile and even 
snicker out. One morning he carried an empty flour sack to school which he 
put on the seat beside him, and while he was praying that morning, the irrever- 
ent conduct of two or three of the larger boys atracting his attention, he 
broke off his prayer and, seizing the empty sack, he struck each of the misbe- 
having lads over the shoulders, powdering them all over with the white flour, 
after which he concluded his prayer. Mr. Chute was an eminent school- 
master in Evansville at an early day, who opened his school with prayer. He 
always stood, with a long iishing cane in his hand,' and prayed with his eyes 
open. *When he caught a boy in mischief during prayer he would stop 
short and call out : "Woe be to you, John," and strike him over the shoulder 
with his long cane, and then resume his prayer.' Another and similar but 
better story than either of the others comes from Pleasant township in 
Switzerland county. An old gentleman by the name of Curry taught in that 
township for several years. *He was a widower and married man by turns.' 
Once when in the former state he went to the schoolhouse early in the morn- 
ing to write a love letter. When the pupils came he carelessly left it on his 
desk and proceeded to open school with pwayer. Kneeling down he prayed 
with his 'whip in his right hand and his right eye open.' One of the boys» 

Digitized by 



stealing up to the desk where the love letter lay, began reading it; but ere 
he was aware the old man broke off in the middle of a sentence and, collaring 
him, gave him a sound thrashing, after which, adds the historian, 'he resumed 
his devotions with equanimity.' 

"It was the custom to whip on the slightest provocation, and not infre- 
quently without any provocation at all. There is scarcely a county in the 
state that has not had, at one time or another, its teacher who would drink 
to intoxication on Saturday and soundly thrash every scholar in the school on 
Monday. The neighborhoods are full of the traditions of the savagery of 
the old schoolmasters. The schoolhouses fairly bristled with switches cut 
from the neighboring thickets. According to the historian of Morgan county, 
'these old instruments of punishment were always present and usually hung 
on wooden hooks over the old fireplace, so that they became so hardened by 
seasoning from the heat that they resisted the severest exercise of the teacher 
in an application on some offending pupil, and even cut the wooden benches 
as the teacher in his fervor pursued round and round the howling culprit.' 
I read of a Bartholomew county school master who 'kept his switches stand- 
ing in the corner or lying on pegs in the wall, but the cat-o'-nine tails lay in 
the desk. He punished with the former and terrified with the latter.^ A 
Martinsville school master flogged his pupils, it is said, on the least provoca- 
tion, with a 'long hickory gad, well-seasoned in the hot embers of the fire.' 

"It would be a mistake to infer that there were no other punishments, 
save corporal, given in those days. The 'dunce block,' the 'fool's cap,' the 
'leather spectacles,' 'bringing up the switch,' 'standing in the corner,' 'stand- 
ing on one foot,' 'sitting on the girls' side,' and any and all other schemes 
the wit of the old school master could devise were tried. I remember to 
have seen a teacher remove a puncheon from its place in the floor and incar- 
cerate a big girl in the 'hole under the floor,' which had been dug for clay to 
make the hearth, jambs and backwalls of the fireplace. I shall never forget 
how he pushed her fingers off the ed;ges of the floor w^hen he fitted the punch- 
eon back in its place. 

"Among the school customs of early days which have entirely disap- 
peared was that described as 'turnino^ out' or 'barring out' the teacher, a sport 
that was never indulged in in Indiana at any other than Qiristmas time. 

"The ostensible object in barring out a teacher was to compel him to 
treat his school. It was a sort of legalized rebellion of the scholars against 
the master's authority, accompanied by a forced levy with which to purchase 
the particular article that was to cornpose the treat, or else to furnish the 

Digitized by 



treat outright himself. Usually the cleix)sed monarch furnished the money 
and the rebels bought the 'treat.' 

"The 'treat' here in Indiana, as far as I have seen, always consisted of 
something to eat or drink. In western Pennsylvania, according to Brecken- 
ridge's 'Recollections of the West,' the object was to compel a vacation. In 
all cases the barring out was made the occasion of more or less revelry and 
disorder. According to a statement made in the 'Life of Thomas Jefferson 
Fisher.' a Kentucky preacher, barring out was observed *on the first holiday 
that came, or at the end of the session.' I find no evidence of its observance 
in this state at the end of the session, although some teachers were in the 
habit of making presents to their scholars at that time. Such presents were 
always voluntarily made, however, and as far as my observations went, al- 
ways consisted of something else than articles of food or drink. 

"I find but two instances of the use of whiskey in this state with which 
to treat the school. One of these was in a school in Jefferson county and the 
other in Morgan. The episode in the last-named county is reported to have 
occurred at Christmas of the cold winter of 1825-26. When the teacher 
reached the school house on that extraordinarily cold morning he found the 
door barred and all the big boys inside. Of course the pedagogue wanted 
in, but the boys declared that it would take a 'treat' to open the door that 
morning. Accordingly, Mr. Conduitt, the teacher, went 'to the nearest 
'grocery^ and purchased about a gallon of whiskey, with which he returned 
and again applied for admittance. The door was at once unbarred and the 
man with the jug admitted, whereupon a season of 'high jinks' followed. 
The master dealt out the liquor liberally, it would seem, for some of the boys, 
becoming 'too much for utterance,' had to be 'sent home in disgrace.' One 
of these boys, it is recorded, 'went home swaggering, happy as a lark, loaded 
to the muzzle with a ceaseless fire of talk, but his father quietly took down 
the big gad and gave the boy a dressing that he remembers to the present.' 

"The following account of a 'turning out' will prove of interest in this 
connection. It occurred in Nashville in this state. 'The custom,' says the 
historian, 'was so universal that the scholars demanded their right to it, and 
were upheld by their parents. Christmas came, and Mr. Gould was informed 
that he must treat. The scholars refused to come to order when called and 
the teacher refused to treat. After a short time the larger boys forcibly 
captured the teacher, bound him hand and foot, and carried him down to 
Greasy creek to be severely ducked in cold water unless he surrendered and 
treated. Several men of the town accompanied this novel expedition. The 

Digitized by 



stubborn teacher was carried out into the stream by the larger boys, who took 
off their shoes and rolled up their pants and waded out. A parley was held, 
but the teacher was obstinate and was on the point of being unceremoniously 
baptized, when W. S. Roberts interceded, and after some sharp words, pro 
and con, secured from the teacher the promise to treat on candy and apples. 
He was released, and the cavalcade marched up to the store, where all were 
given a taste of the above-named delicacies. 

''Stubborn teachers did not always come out as well as did this Brown 
county man. The school boys of a certain district in Poisey county, having 
determined to compel their teacher to treat, 'upon his refusal he was promptly 
sat upon by the boys, who soon overcame him and carried him down to the 
creek and broke the ice. The alternative was once more given him, but he 
was stubborn and held out. Without ceremony he was plunged beneath the 
icy water, and, yet holding out, his tormentors placed chunks of ice on his 
bare bosom, and but for the arrival of outsiders who rescued him, serious 
consequences would doubtless have been the result.' Tt is more than probable 
in this case that the victim had been a hard master, and his pupils took ad- 
vantage of their opportunity to get revenge. Jacob Powers, a Hancock 
county teacher, fared worse. He had recently had a tooth extracted, and, 
despite his warning as to the risk, was plunged in the cold waters of a creek. 
The result was lock-jaw, from which he died. 

"While the teachers, as a general rule, resisted the demand to their 
utmost, there were others, however, who fell in with the humor of the occa- 
sion and found as much fun in it as the boys themselves. Indeed, if the teacher 
resisted in good earnest, even to the point of being ducked in the ice-cold 
water, he was, nevertheless, 'expected to forgive his enemies,' and I do not 
remember to have come across an instance of a teacher ever being accused of 
subsequently holding malice against any one who had wronged him in a 
Christmas frolic. 

"It must be said that those teachers who looked on the bright side of 
the custom, and gave in after a brief show of resistance, usually came out the 
best. On one occasion the big boys of one William Surface's school barred 
the school door against him. On reaching the school house he was, of 
course, refused entrance except on the usual condition. But the teacher 
declined answering their oral demands, because he said, 'some dispute might 
arise as to what was said.' If they had terms to propose they must present 
them in writing. This seemed reasonable, and so the boys put their demand' 
on paper, which, together with pen and ink, was handed* to the diplornat on 

Digitized by 






the outside. Beneath the boys' scrawl he wrote, *I except to the above propo- 
sition — William Surface/ and passed the writing back. The boys were satis- 
fied, and at once opened the door. *You had better read with care what I 
have written,' said the master to the scholars, when safe within. *It is one 
thing to accept a proposition and quite another to except to it.' The boys, 
now crestfallen, acknowledged their mistake, but the teacher, after *improv- 
ing the occasion by warning them against the evil of carelessness in the 
business transactions of life,' generously treated, and was thereafter loved 
better than ever before. 

"A teacher by the name of Groves, who taught in a district close up to 
the Marion county line, found himself barred out one Christmas morning. 
Living in 'the school master's cabin,* hard by, he called in his wife to assist 
him. The weather was extremely cold, and it occurred to him that if he 
could drown out the fire he could freeze out the rebellion, and so, ascending 
the roof to the top of the chimney, his wife handed up buckets of water, 
which he poured down on the school fire. But it was all in vain. The boys, 
raking the coals out upon the broad hearth, defied him. His next thought 
was to smoke them out, and to that end he laid boards over the chimney top. 
But the boys had thought of that and provided themselves with a long pole 
with which to remove the boards. Not to be outdone. Groves replaced the 
boards over the chimney and calling upon his wife, who seems to have 
entered with spirit into all his plans, she gallantly mounted to the comb of 
the roof and took her seat on the boards to hold them down while her hus- 
band stationed himself at the door below. But the boys tried the pole again, 
and with such vigor that they overthrew the master's dame, who at the risk 
of her life and limb, came tumbling to the ground. Picking herself up, she 
retired to her own domicile, leaving her lord to fight the battle out as best he 
could. As the girls and smaller children arrived he sent them to his own 
cabin, where his w^ife agreed to keep watch and ward over them. One by 
one the garrison became captive to the vigilant master, who stood g^iard at 
the door, and was sent to the other house. By the time for dismissing in the 
afternoon every rebellious boy had been taken in and the school was in full 
blast in the master's cabin." 


Ten per cent, of the proceeds of sales of lots in county seat donations 
was, under the early statutes, to be applied to the use of a county library. 
The fund began to accumulate almost at the beginning of our county's his- 

Digitized by 



tory, for we find in the final settlement account of the first county agent, 
John Campbell, this item: "John Campbell, agent, is allowed $2.61^ for 
whisky and stationery furnished while agent [no doubt to stimulate interest 
in the public sale of the lots], also 13J4 cents depreciation in library money." 
The fund did not grow rapidly, of course, and nothing further is known of 
the library until twenty years after. In 1845 Royal S. Hicks was appointed 
by the county board a "commissioner ' to collect together all the books be- 
longing to the Johnson County Library, and at the next term he reports that 
he has collected "forty- four volumes belonging to said library, also some 
fifteen pamphlets." No Johnson county library was ever incorporated, and 
the funds accumulated having been spent in books and they lost or worn out, 
the Johnson county library evidently passed out of existence before the 
middle of the last century. 

Township libraries were encouraged by special laws under the new con- 
stitution, and in at least one instance a corporation was organized to manage 
a township library. Deed record N, page 213, contains the record of a meet- 
ing of the citizens of Franklin and vicinity at the court house on April 9, 
1852, who had subscribed to stock in a corporation to start such a library. 
F. M. Finch presided at the meeting, and A. B. Hunter was clerk. It was 
found that sixty-one persons had subscribed five dollars each, and directors 
were chosen in the persons of G. M. Overstret, M. W. Thomas, G. W. 
Branham, F. M. Finch, Henry Fox and Thomas Williams. 

Under the law of 1852 township libraries became very generally estab- 
lished and for the next thirty years afforded the best opportunities to be had 
for general reading. But at their best, township libraries were of limited 
usefulness. From statistics at hand, it is probable that the total number of 
volumes belonging to such libraries in Johnson county never exceeded one 
thousand five hundred. They were under the control of the township trus- 
tee, and no effort was made in most townships to maintain the library or to 
encourage the circulation of books. 

One movement deserving special mention was the Young People's Read- 
ing Circle, instituted under the auspices of the State Teachers' Association in 
1887. It was specially designed for the children of the district schools, and 
the book lists were carefully made out by a state board. This movement 
reached its highest efficiency in the early nineties. In the year 1896, two 
thousand fifty-nine school pupils (almost one-half of the total enrollment) 
were members of the reading circle. The books were very generally bought 
by the trustee, and when he failed to do so, schools arranged entertainments 

Digitized by 




and with the sales of tickets bought the books for the schools. After the 
books were used during the school year, they became the nucleus of a neigh- 
borhood circulating library. The average number of volumes for a year 
was twenty, and the average cost twelve dollars. 


By far the most successful movement for a public library in the county 
was begun by the women's clubs of Franklin early in 19 11. Acting under 
the provisions of the act of 1901 (section 4916 R. S. 1901) as amended by 
the acts of 1903, page 301, they obtained a subscription list with pledges 
totaling about one thousand eight hundred and fifty dollars. This list was 
filed with the clerk of the circuit court on June 10, 191 1, and the judge at 
once named the following trustees: For one year, R. M. Miller; for two 
years, Elba L. Branigin. and for three years, Martha C. Johnson. On notice 
from the said clerk, the common coimcil appointed Robert J. Mossop and 
Jeannette Zeppenfeld each for a term of one year. The city school board 
also named Myrtillus J. Voris and Nettie Craft each for a term of two years. 
AH members whose terms have expired have been reappointed, and the same 
now constitute the Franklin public library board. 

These members of the board held their first meeting on June 23, 1911, 
and organized by the election of R. M. Miller as president, and Elba L. 
Branigin as secretary. Under the law the county treasurer is ex-officio 
treasurer of the library funds. The board, in September, contracted with 
Paul Hulsman for the rental of the old armory room at the second floor of 
the Hulsman block, at the southwest intersection of Jefferson and Water 
streets, at twent>^-five dollars per month. After certain improvements were 
made the library was formally opened on December 5, 1911, with Mary Rue, 
of Coshocton. Ohio, as librarian. Miss Rue made a splendid record, but, 
because of ill health of her family was obliged to resign September i, 191 2. 
and her place was temporarily filled by Ruth Wallace. Miss Helen Davis 
was chosen the next librarian and began her duties November 15, 1912. 

The library board made a levy in September, 1911, and again in 1912 
of seven-tenths of a mill on each dollar of taxable property in the city, which 
yielded a return of approximately two thousand dollars, but this levy was 
increased at the September levy of 191 3 one-tenth of a mill. On August 13, 
1912. the board of trustees voted to make the Franklin Public Library open 
to all the citizens of Franklin and Needham townships, on condition that the 

Digitized by 



advisory boards of the townships make a levy of five-tenths of a mill. John 
W. Ditmars, James B. Payne and Walter Farmer, constituting the advisory 
board of Franklin township, promptly accepted the offer, levied the tax, and 
the Franklin Public Library was at once thrown open to all the people of 
Franklin township. By this progressive step about two thousand seven hun- 
dred and fifty dollars was made available to the support of the library, and 
the city and township are united in a most promising educational movement. 
The first annual report of date December 31, 19 12, shows the following 
interesting facts as to the finances and work of the new library. The total 
income from taxation in the city was $1,988.67, and from the original sub- 
scriptions $1,520. The total mimber of books in the library was 1,987, and 
twenty periodicals were regularly received. The circulation of books for the 
year was 18,589 among 1,352 patrons. The most notable gift to the library 
was Hart's "American Nation/' McMaster's **History of the United States," 
and complete sets of the works of John Fiske and Francis Parkman, from 
the Alexander Hamilton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion. Other large givers were Mrs. M. J. Voris, the ladies of Shiloh church 
of TCeedham township, the Baptist Young People's Union of Franklin, and 
the late Malvina C. Hall. 

Andrew Carnegie has offered the library a building, if a suitable site is 
)5rovided, and the near future will doubtless see the Franklin Public Library 
prop>«Tly housed. 


The Johnson County Seminary, an account of the building of which is 
given in Chapter IV, was intended as a sch6ol for pupils desiring more ad- 
vanced work than the common schools afforded, but, owing to lack of funds 
it was never successful and so far as the writer is able to learn no high school 
brandies were ever taught in the building, except in a few private schools held 
there. The total funds to the county seminary account in 1845 amounted only 
to $71.25, which by the year 1847 ^^^ increased only to $259.45, with no 
record of expenditures. It is evident that with such a financial condition, 
no work could be undertaken and when under the new Constitution it was 
^^uired that the seminary buildings be sold and the proceeds converted into 
the common school fund, there was neither a suitable building nor sufficient 
school revenue to maintain schools, at public charge, to provide for higher 
education. Little is remembered of any of the schools taught in the County 
Seminary. John L. JOnes remembers that, in 1844, only one room had been 

Digitized by 






! ; 






finished, and prior to that time only one term had been taught in this school. 
It was known, however, that in the fifties a girls' school was maintained in 
the seminary building, and James Sloan attended one school there conducted 
by Samuel Demaree. Higher education provided by the state was not to be 
had until the prosperous days following the Civil war, and in the meantime 
only private schools and academies supplied the needs for more liberal edu- 

But, while the public authorities were slow to undertake higher educa- 
tion at the public charge, one community in the county made a splendid 
effort to supply the need. As early as 1854 public-spirited citizens of the 
Hopewell neighborhood by popular subscription raised sufficient funds to 
start a building, for an academy, and work was so far advanced that school 
was opened in the yet unfinished building in 1855. According to Miss Ruth 
Terrill, the historian of the Hopewell schools, "the academy was built a short 
distance east of where the present building now stands, at the top of the first 
level of the hill. It contained six rooms, three above and three below. The 
building had three wings, and a bell tower on the top. There were two large 
pillars, with large double porch in front. Some essays which had been given 
at a spring exhibition were put in a tin box and placed in the pillars when 
they were built. A history of the school was also placed with them. On 
remodeling the school building some years later, these were destroyed. The 
largest room in the building was used as an assembly room. All the pupils 
from the primer to the highest grade were in this room, where both the 
primer and Caesar was taught. The east room on the first floor was the 
music room. Just above the assembly room was a large hall used for the 
meetings of the literary societies. The rooms were heated with long open 
stoves. The lower hall, where the wraps and lunches were kept, was called 
the ante-room. It was not heated and the dinners were often frozen. The 
studies were writing, reading, philosophy, physiology, analysis on English 
grammar, American history, algebra, geometry, Latin, arithmetic, higher arith- 
metic, botany, familiar science and literature. The school year was divided into 
three terms, the first from September to December, the second from December 
to March, and the third from March to the last of May or the first of June. 
Students from all over the state attended this academy. It was then the only 
advanced school in the county. A boarding house was provided for students 
who came from a distance to attend,' and what is now the Orphans Home 
was used as a boarding house. Almost immediately after the organization 
of the academy a Baconian Literary Society was organized for the young 

Digitized by 



men. The duties consisted of orations, debates, declamations and essays. 
The meetings were held on Friday evenings, and every month open-door 
debates were held for the benefit of patrons and friends. The girls also had 
a literary society which they called the Athenian. The motto for the Bacon- 
ian society was 'Lux et Scientificns/ for the Athenian, 'Puritas ef Veritas/ 
The school had rhetorical exercises every other Friday. Frequent exhibitions 
were given by the girls at the church, which were very pleasing to the com- 
munity. These exhibitions were important events and drew people from 
miles around. The school progressed rapidly, but when the time of the Civil 
war came, the general peace students were called away to the war never to 

Perhaps the first teacher who included algebra and Latin in the curricu- 
lum of the Hopewell schools was Miss Fairchild, who is well rememlDered by 
some now living as a scholarly teacher. But the first principal of the Hope- 
well Academy was Prof. T. P. Killen, who came hither from Waveland. 
He was a college graduate and a man of much force as a teacher, and his 
school soon attracted attention throughout this section of the state. One of 
his pupils, S. Watson Van Nuys, later volunteered as a private in the Civil 
war, was rapidly promoted, but met an untimely end at the battle of Peters- 
burg. He had attained to the rank of adjutant-general on the staff of Gen- 
eral Duncan. Professor Killen, according to the recollection of R. V. Dit- 
mars, served four years as principal of the academy, when he was followed 
by Prof. Samuel D. Voris, who came from Vevay and taught two years. Rev. 
Ouincy McKeehan, according to the testimony of some, taught during the 
school year of 1861-62, while others place him before Voris. It is fairly cer- 
tain that Prof. Joseph Shaw was principal in 1861 and continued a highly 
successful school for four years. Shaw came from Bellefontaine, Ohio, and 
was. like his predecessors, a man with college training, and of fine teaching 
abilities. Other pupils of the academy speak of a Professor Johnson, a Han- 
over graduate, who taught the academic work for a year, just prior to Voris* 

The Hopewell Academy sent other of its sons to war, including John 
Henderson, Sr., J. M. Dunlap, Will Gordon, J. D. Van Nuys, A. B. Lagrange, 
Joseph Fisher, Thomas Fisher, and the following named, stricken on the 
battlefield : Samuel List, Peter D. List, Robert Sloan, who died in the An- 
dersonville prison, and John Graham, who died from wounds and disabilities. 

The Hopewell Academy was easily first among efforts to extend high 
school privileges to Johnson county students, and in some sense it was even 
a rival to Franklin College in the years just preceding the Civil war. 

Digitized by 



There is now before me a prospectus of the Hopewell Academy tor the 
year 1862. It reads: 


is situated three miles west of Franklin, the county seat of Johnson county^. 
Indiana, and just twenty miles south of Indianapolis, in the center of a 
wealthy and highly respectable neighborhood. For miles around, the popula- 
tion is almost exclusively Presbyterian, and is remarkable for intelligence 
•and high-toned morality. The academy being in the country, and in the midst 
of a large and flourishing church, the pupils are free from the enticements to 
evil of town and city. 

"The subjects usually taught in seminaries and colleges will be attended 
to, and in addition a Normal Department has been opened to qualify teachers 
for the duties of the schoolroom. 

"Facilities are offered for both male and female education. Young men 
will be prepared for the classes of Hanover College, Indiana. The building 
is a two-story brick, in the form of a T, containing six spacious rooms. The 
young gentlemen have a room in which they maintain a Literary Society of 
some twenty-five members. 

"Persons living in large towns or cities, wanting a good situation for 
their sons and daughters, where good health is combined with educational 
advantages, will do well to send them here. 

"Terms : 

Primary course (12 weeks) $3 per term 

Common schools (12 weeks) $4 per term 

Scientific (12 weeks) $6 per term 

Classical (12 weeks) $8 per term 

Extras, piano, guitar, etc $8 per term 

Use of instruments ^ $2 per term 

"Three terms each year, opening September 15, January 6, and April 6. 
Boarding, ranging from $1.25 to $2.00 per week, can be had in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the academy. 

"Text Books — Bullion's Greek and Latin Grammars, Ray's and Robin- 
son's Mathematics, etc. 

"For particulars incjnire of Jacob Aten, Samuel Vannuys. P. J. Banta, 
trustees, or of the Rev. John F. Smith, pastor of the Hopewell Congregation. 
Franklin, Johnson county, Indiana. 

"Joseph Shaw, Principal." 

Digitized by 



Following Mr. Shaw as principal came Smith G. Blvthe, 1865-1866; 
Robert Shaw, 1866-1868; David Moore, 1868- 1873; Robert Sturgis, 1873- 
1875; E. P. Cole, 1875-1881 ; Mons Coulter, 1881-1882, and Minard Sturgis, 
1 882- 1 883. 

A certificate of graduation from Hopewell Academy admitted to the 
sophomore year in Hanover College, and both institutions being under the 
control of the Presbyterian faith, most of the graduates of the Johnson county 
institutions went to Hanover, rather than to Franklin College. The academy 
was of course supported by benevolences and the small tuition fees received. 
In March, 1870, the friends of the academy subscribed capital stock to the 
amount of four thousand dollars and the Hopewell Academy Association 
was duly incorporated. 

Inspired doubtless by the record of the Hopewell Academy, Elder John 
C. Miller, of Nineveh, conducted a school on similar lines in the Christian 
church at Nineveh, for four or five years beginning about 1867. 

In 1873 *he Union Graded School Association was organized to establish 
a ^aded school at Union church. 


The township graded high school was not instituted in Johnson county 
without long and strenuous opposition. The first of such schools to be opened 
ir\ -trhe county was at Nineveh in 1872, but the movement was not popular. 
In otilier townships of the county no systematic effort was made to teach high 
schocDl subjects, and, in at least one instance, the question of compelling the 
scho<:>l authorities to provide high school instruction got into our courts. 

The act of 1869 provided that "the common schools of the state shall 

t>« t:si,-ught in the English language; and the trustee shall provide to have 

^^^g"l^t in them orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English 

g^3.mxnar, physiology. United States history, and good behavior, and such 

^^h^r- branches of learning and other languages as the advancement of the 

P^prils may require and the trustees from time to time direct.'* 

It was argued by the opponents of higher education that it was not in- 
tended at the time of the adoption of the Constitution that education at 
V^blic charge should extend beyond the ''^common branches'* ; that to give a 
^^gVi school training at the free schools would be to educate a few at the 
expense of the many. The other side of the question was well set forth in 
State Superintendetit Smart's instructions to school trustees, in these words : 

Digitized by 



"It has been asked whether it is the duty of school trustees to provide a 
course of study adapted to the preparation of pupils for college. The question 
should be answered in the affirmative. It is fair to assume that the trustees 
must provide suitable instruction for all the children who have a right to at- 
tend school ; that is, they must afford them such instruction as their attain- 
ments demand. If a child has mastered all the primary branches, and being 
less than tw^enty-one years of age, still desires to attend school, the trustees 
must provide suitable instruction for him. It is not reasonable to expect him 
to spend further time on branches w^hich he has mastered. The fact that the 
law permits children to attend school Until they are twenty-one years of age 
is presumptive proof that the trustees may be required to furnish such instruc- 
tion as is suitable to their attainments till they reach that age.'' 

This statement of Superintendent Smart, given out in 1875, must have 
fallen into the hands of E)r. William B. Grubbs and William. H. Ehingan, 
patrons of district No. 3 in Clark township some time during the year fol- 
lowing. Grubbs had a son aged seventeen, and Dungan a daughter aged 
nineteen, who were advanced in school \vork and desired to study algebra 
and Latin in the district school. After repeated demands upon the trustee, 
James Williams, that he furnish them instruction in algebra and Latin, with- 
out success, the parent sought the aid of the courts. In February, 1877, they 
filed a petition for a writ of mandate to compel Trustee Williams to provide 
instruction to their children in these subjects. The complaint was drawn by 
Woollen & Banta and in brief alleges that petitioners are the heads of families 
and taxpayers of Qark township and have children of school age who are 
entitled to attend school at that district: that the children are ''advanced fti 
their studies, having a knowledge of the common English branches of educa- 
tion, to-wit: orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English 
grammar, physiology and United States history, and that further advance- 
ment in useful learning can be best promoted by pursuing a course in algebra 
and the Latin languages ; that James Williams as trustee has employed Jose- 
phine Carver in said school, and that she is qualified to ]teach said branches 
of learning." 

The trustee, by his counsel, S. P. Oyler, answers that at a school meeting 
of the patrons of the district helij^just prior to his employment of Miss 
Carver, it was voted to give instruction only in the common branches, and 
that he has apportioned his funds in such, manner that he has not sufficient 
money to provide instruction* in algebra and Latin. Judge K. M. Hord heard 
the evidence, which was written down in long hand by Edward F. White 

Digitized by 



and is still on file with the papers in the cause. The evidence showed that no 
special demand had been made upon the teacher to give instruction in Latin, 
and hence the court refuses to mandate the trustee to furnish such instruc- 
tion, but in respect to algebra the court's order and judgment is complete. 
The judgment of the court is unique, and the case being of such importance, 
we set out the judgment in full : 

"The court finds that the said William B. Grubbs and William H. Dun- 
gan are residents of district No. 3 in Clark township, Johnson county, In- 
diana, and that William B. Grubbs, Jr., is a son of William B. Grubbs, the 
relator, and is of the age of seventeen years, and is unmarried and lives in 
his father's family, and that he is sufficiently advanced in learning to study 
the algebra and Latin language, and the court further finds that Elizabeth 
Dungan is of the age of nineteen years and resides with her father and is un- 
married, and that she is sufficiently advanced in learning to study the algebra 
and Latin language. 

"And the court further finds that one Josephine Carver is engaged in 
teaching a public school in said district No. 3 and that she refuses to teach 
the said William Grubbs and Elizabeth Dungan the algebra and Latin lan- 
gua,gG, and that James Williams is the acting trustee of Clark township, and 
that a demand has been made of him to cause the algebra to be taught in 
said public school by the said Josephine Carver, but that he fails and refuses 
to so order and direct the said Josephine Carver to teach the algebra to such 
of her pupils as are sufficiently advanced to study the same, although re- 
quested so to do. 

**Now, therefore, we do command you the said James Williams that 
yovi immediately after the receipt of this writ do order and direct and cause 
the said Josephine Carver to teach and instruct the children of the relators, 
to-xvit: : William B. Grubbs and Elizabeth Dungan. in the algebra." 


The Franklin township high school is widely known by the name of the 
community in which it is located, and as Hopewell neighborhood is charac- 
terized by the sterling integrity, high character and progressive spirit of its 
citizens, so the Hopewell schools are of high standard and represent the best 
ideals along educational lines. The following sketch is from the pen of Miss 
Ruth Terrill of the class of 1911 :' 

Digitized by 





*The academy was organized into a high school in 1884. A high school 
building was erected in 1888. It was a large building, erected near where 
the present one now stands. General high school studies were taken. Lit- 
erary societies were organized, boys and girls both belonging to the same one. 
Duties consisting of readings, essays, monologues, etc., were given. For a 
few winters the students had charge of a lecture course, which proved to 
be quite a success. Such men ^is Will Cumback, Dr. Willets, C. A. Bolten and 
Ridpath, the historian, were brought before the people. With the money 
made from the lectures, the school purchased a good library, a librarian was 
appointed each year and a general improvement of the reading matter for the 
pupils was made. 

*'An Alumni Association was organized in 1894, but did not succeed, as 
the interest of the older graduates was not enough to keep it alive. The 
class of 1894 was a very active one; they were organized, had their historian, 
class poet, and class song which was written by Miss Emma Covert, now 
Mrs. Gilbert Henderson. A new building was erected in the year 1904. 
There had never been but one teacher in the high school until in 
1904, when an assistant was obtained. The school was certified under M. J. 
Fleming and commissioned under Merle J. Abbett, April 9, 1909. Then it 
became necessary to place three teachers in the high school. Under the su- 
pervision of Professor Abbett, the school has risen to a very high standard, 
more attention being paid to the general development of the pupil, not only 
in the way of lx)ok learning, but along all lines. Live, thinking boys and girls 
have been developed. 

"In 1909 the junior class gave a banquet for the seniors, and a number 
of former students were present. This was a successful affair, and much 
credit is due to this class, as a whole, for this gave an impetus to the Alumni 

"In 1 910 the junior class gave a banquet for the seniors, and a number 
of the alumni. This was a pleasing affair, and a success. In the summer of 
1910 an alumni organization was formed with James G. Covert as president, 
and Miss Belle McCaslin as secretary. 

"The school has made great advancements along all lines. May this 
always be said of our Hopewell high school and may it be counted a success. 

"Early in the history of the school the three R's, reading 'riting and 
'rithmetic, were the fundamental subjects. Soon they desired to take up new 


Digitized by 



Digitized by 



Digitized by 



topics and to gam new ideas. Latin was taught in the whole high school. 
In recent years more prose work has been taken, more books of Caesar and 
Cicero have been read, but much of this because more time per day is devoted 
'to it. Nearly all the snbjects taken now were taken when the high school 
was organized, but now there are more teachers and better equipments. 
Botany is becoming more and more one of the principal sdbjects, the detaitled 
anaylsis of the plant and plant life in particular. By the aid of the micros- 
cope, wiiich was purdiased a few years ago, better work is accomplished. 

"In 1907 a laboratory, which is used in the study of physics, was added ; 
this was of special benefit, although a complete -equtpment was not secured, 
yet with what we have many expermients can be performed which greatly 
aid the pupil in the study. 

"In 1908 the study of agriculture was taken up for the first time. This 
proved to be of special interest to the students, as many of them had lived 
on the farm all of their lives, and had always been interested in the farm and 
its products. 

"Aside from the regular curriculum, music was introduced in 1905, un- 
der the direction of Miss Emma Ogle, who taught for two years and was 
succeeded by Miss Mable Williams, who was in charge of the seventh and 
eighth grades. Mrs. Eda Hair ^p Ijad the supervision of the department 
for one year. She was follov?^jDyMfs,^.R^se Meredith, who has continued 
in this place until the present time. Chorus Work has been the principal thing 
taken by the seventh and eighth, grades and the high school. 

"Art was introduced in th"e" fall of ipp^.^'^This was under the supervision 
of Miss Ethel Trout, of Ffankhn. This departrhent made slow progress the 
first year, for it was entirely new to the pupils and only thirty minutes per 
week was devoted to it. Miss Trout taught for two years. She was succeeded 
by Mrs. Zella Lee Trout, an assistant teacher in the high school. She has 
continued teaching the art since. Great improvement has been made since 
that time and we are beginning to see the result of the effort that has been 

"More attention was paid to athletics in the fall of 1906, when Mark 
WeW) organized and directed a boys' basketball team. Great interest was 
taken in this, the boys were successful, considering their lack of experience. 
In the fall of 1906 they won the pennant which was offered for the team 
winning the largest numer of games in a league which comprised teams over 
the county. The members of this team were Noble Wilson, Leslie Tackett, 
Virgil Covert, Leslie Middleton and Ray List. 


Digitized by 







**A girls' basketball team was organized in 1909, consisting of Bessie 
Cosby, Pansy Norton, Elsa Combs, Mae Middleton, Janet Van Nuys, Marie 
Covert, Ruth Kerlin and Mary Brown. This team lost only one game to a 
high school, Franklin, also winning from this team by a similar score. 

^'Physical culture was introduced in 1910, under the direction of Miss 
Hazel Abbett ; there were two classes organized, consisting of the girls from 
the seventh and eighth grades and the high school. The work consisted of 
fancy drills and exercises. This work was carried on successfully and at the 
close of the year the girls of the seventh and eighth grades gave a drill 
which showed what they had accomplished. 

"Sewing was taken up in the fall of 1909 under direction of Mrs. Zella 
Lee Trout. The Beardsley system was introduced and carried out as nearly 
as possible. The girls proved industrious and many pretty articles were 
made by them. In 191 1 a sewing machine was given them. This aided very 
materially and much better results were obtained. 

"Manual training was introduced in 1909 in the school. The work of 
the first year or at least the first half year was that of the beginner, but from 
this time forward the various classes have advanced until the more compli- 
cated models in wood work are performed to an advantage. The purpose of 
the work is giving expression with the hand to the thoughts of the boy and 
carrying out his ideas, an appreciation of art, and a development of the art 
side of his nature. 

"The results of the department are sufficient evidence of what interest 
the work is to the boy, also it is sufficient evidence of what can be done in our 
country high school by employing only a few minutes per week and utilizing 
a great deal of time that might otherwise be wasted were it not for this work. 
The models this year are not devised after or fashioned on mission lines of 
furniture, but will bear the closest test of scrutiny relative to proportion, 
symmetry, construction, etc. Its value to this school cannot be overestimated, 
and we sincerely hope the interest will continue until a greater standard of 
excellence is reached. The expense of having it installed in the school is 
small and the benefit is without a doubt large. The interest shows it comes 
from the desires of the boy, from the natural tendency and with interest, 
unity, care and supervision the work has succeeded. 

"During the summer of 191 2 extensive improvements were made to the 
school building. The old buildings consisted of six rooms above ground and 
five in the basement. Aside from the fact that the rooms were too few for the 
increased attendance, they were also too small, and the halls too narrow for 

Digitized by 



proper sanitation and lighting. The present building has eleven rooms above 
ground and eleven small rooms in the basement, which latter serve many ex- 
cellent purposes. Two of the rooms contain dry closets, which took the place 
of the unsightly and unsanitary buildings outside. A larger room is used for 
manual training. Two more are for play rooms, another for the compression 
tank and acteylene plant, another for lavatory and shower bath, and the re- 
maining space is used for the heating plant. 

"The water supply is furnished to all parts of the building by a large 
compression tank. This system gives running fountains in the halls and sup- 
plies hot and cold water for the wash basins and bath. The water is forced 
into the tank by a gasoline engine. -which does double purpose in also driving 
the fan in connection with the heating plant. The new heating plant not only 
heats as much surface as both the old ones, but, with the 'aid of the motor 
keeps the air pure and properly distributed. 

**Each room is now larg^ enough to accommodate the present attendance, 
and care for a reasonable increase. Each is equipped with light fixtures 
connected with an efficient acetylene plant. This makes the whole school of 
service for social gatherings, as well as for the annual exhibition. The 
grounds are equipped with play-ground apparatus suited to all ages, and 
basketball courts for boys and girls are provided. In the adjacent field of 
Mr. List supervised games are played. A well graveled driveway passes un- 
der a porte-cochere, which enables pupils to alight from the school wagons 
under shelter. 

"The new grade rooms are each twenty-eight by thirty feet and are 
lighted from one side only. The walls are tinted in light green, the wood- 
work stained to match. The assembly room is thirty by fifty-eight, and will 
accommodate three hundred and fifty pupils. The room is used daily for 
opening exercises and for the physical exercises. The old assembly room is 
converted into a study hall. Three recitation rooms are used by high school 
students. The library has a separate room. On the shelves are more than 
five hundred well selected books, and since September, 191 2, it has been 
identified with the Franklin Public Library, which has extended all its privi- 
leges to the Hopewell schools. 

"The rooms for the lower grades are equipped with maps, charts, sand 
tables, looms, and many other conveniences for hand work. For the fifth 
grade manual training in pottery, sewing and other lines is provided. The 
high school is equipped with Crowell apparatus for physics, sewing machines, 
a microscope and botanical apparatus. A complete set of Indian clubs, wands 

Digitized by 



1 ,1 



and dumb-bells for physical culture is included, and the manual training room 
is fully equipped with carpienter's benches and wood-working tools. 

"'the regular course prescribed by the state board of education for com- 
missioned high schools is followed. Required work in music and art is 
offered under the instruction of regular supervisors. A course in mechanical 
drawing is offered to the boys, and one in clay modeling to the girls. Special 
attention is given to a study of agriculture. Corn clubs and domestic science 
clubs have done much good work in connection with the schools." 



First, David G. Fenton, term one year ; second, J. Edward Wiley, term 
one year ; third, Charles Fiinn, term one year ; fourth, Will Hutchinson, term 
one-half year; fifth, Edward Remy, term, two and one-half years; sixth, Paul 
Monroe, term, one year; seventh, James Deer, term, seven years: eighth, 
Charles Carson, term, four years; ninth, Charles Deibler, term, one year; 
tenth, John Terman, terrti, one year; eleventh, M. J. Fleming, term, two 
years; assistant, M. D. Webb, term, two years; twelfth, James Moore, term, 
one year ; first assistant, one-half year each, M. D. Webb and Grace Carney ; 
thirteenth, Arthur Moore, term, one year; assistant, Grace Carney; four- 
teenth, M. J. Abbett, term, three years; first assistants. Bertha Lagrange, 
one year; Bertha Lagrange and Zella B. Lee, one year; Bertha Lagrange and 
Hazel Abbett, one year; fifteenth, Arnold V. Doub, term, one year; assist- 
ants, Hazel Abbett, Noble Wilson, Zella Lee, Mrs. Rose Meredith ; sixteenth 
(1912-1913), Merle J. Abbett; superintendent: Hazel Abbett, principal; Zella 
T^e. art, and Mrs. Rose Meredith, music. 


. 1888 — Ada Pugh, Belle McCaslin, Maude Combs Carroll. 

1889 — ^Victor Bergen, James Covert, George Jeffrey. 

1890 — Paul Covert, Hattie Jeffrey Covert, Bertha Combs Winters, 
Emma Bergen. 

1 891 — Charks B. Henderson, Ezra McCaslin, Ira McQuiston, John A. 

1892^ — John Hoflfman. 

1893 — Estella Jones Webb, Emma Covert Henderson, Henry Huffman. 
Mamie Bc?rgen. 

Digitized by 



1894 — ^Alice VanNuys Oliver, Will Banta, Vassie Voorhees Henderson, 
James Handley, Kate Voorhees VanNuys, Lelia Covert McCaslin. 

1895 — Ophelia Henderson Dunlap, Gertrude Oliver Shufflebarger, Claud 

1896 — Ezra VanNuys, Watson VanNuys. 

1897 — Gilbert Voorhees, Gertrude Voorhies Demaree, Edna VanNuys 
Voorhies, Will Jeffrey. 

1898 — Bruce Voorhies, Mary Handley Forney, Hester Deere Balser, 
Gilbert Deere, Omer Henderson. 

1899 — ^Jessie Byers Henderson. 

1900 — Homer Luyster, Mabel Riggs Haymaker, Wheat Voorhies, Leta 
Voorhies, Edward Dollins, Chester Clo^e. 

1901 — Minnie Graham Meganhoffer, Mabel Kinnear LeMasters, Drusy 
Murphy, Mary Brewer Fisher. 

1902 — No graduates. 

1903 — Florence Voris, Cecil Byers Clore. 

1904 — Nelle Jones Henderson, Carrie Graham Banta, Earl Byers, Neva 

1905 — No graduates. 

1906 — ^Fern Hamilton, Herbert Kinnear, Clarence Stimson, Hazel Har- 
per Canary. 

1907 — Mary Demaree, Earl List. Cort Ditmars, Forest Graham. 

1908 — Hugh Hamilton, Mary Sullivan LaGrange. 

1909 — Noble Wilson, Ora Henderson, Leslie Middleton, Verna List, 
Ray List. 

1910 — Mary Brown, Janet VanNuys, Georgia Weddle, Pansy Norton, 
Ruba Harper, Leslie Tackett, Russell Voris. 

191 1 — Besse Crosby, Ruth Terrill, Everett T. Henderson, Elsie Combs, 
Russell Hamilton. 


The Hensley township graded high school building was erected in the 
year 1879 by Tnistee William H. Jeffries, in the face of much opposition. 
The schools had for many years been under the control of Trustee Mussel- 
man, who, though a successful politician and a likeable man, was not in sym- 
pathy with "new fangled notions" as to education. The building was of four 
rooms and located on the west side of the town. In this building Principal 

Digitized by 



John VV. Roseberry taught the more advanced work in the first two years. 
His assistant, C. E. Hodgin, succeeded him in 1881 and 1882, but it is not 
known that any regular high school work was attempted by either of these 

John W. Woolfington succeeded Hodgin in 1882, and introduced normal 
school methods, giving especial attention to training for teachers of the dis- 
trict schools. Principal Harvey D. Vories, afterward county superintendent 
and still later state sui^erintendent of public instruction, came to the Trafal- 
gar school in 1883 for two years' work. Professor Vories gave the first defi- 
nite organization of the school work and conducted the first common school 
commencement held in the township. The class consisted of Dr. R. W. Ter- 
hune, Joseph Alexander, John McNutt and Ella Pitcher. In 1885 he gave 
certificates of graduation to the first alumni of the Trafalgar high school, 
Lillie Ream Lochry and Alva Richardson. 

Ben F. Kennedy followed Superintendent Vories and had classes in many 
high school subjects. Prof. T. D. Aker was at the head of the schools in 
1886-87 and 1887-88. Aker was a fine teacher, but excelled in teaching the 
common school branches. He gave the first instruction in Latin to pupils 
of the Trafalgar high school, and during his first year Claude Moore grad- 
uated from the high school. Principal H. T. Guthridge succeeed Mr. Aker 
for the year 1888-89. He had a "freshman class'* in high school work of 
about ten pupils, but no higher classes. J. T. C. Noe, fresh from a course in 
Franklin College, became principal of the school in 1889, and was quite suc- 
cessful as a teacher. He was followed by J. B. Lemasters, a veteran teacher 
of the county and a capable instructor. He had been the first teacher in high 
school subjects in the district schools of Union township. Will A. Burton, 
now treasurer of Franklin College, was an alumnus of the school under Prin- 
cipal Lemasters. 

O. V. Eaton succeeded to the principalship for the years 189 1 and 1892, 
and he was followed by Elba L. Branigin for the three years, 1893, 1894 and 
1895. The writer remembers with peculiar pleasure his three years' exper- 
ience as a teacher in the Trafalgar high school. The average enrollment in 
the high school work was thirty, the regular course of study for certified 
high schools was followed, and while only a six months' term was held, the 
interest and application of the pupils was such that the school work was com- 
pleted with thoroughness. In 1895 Oren E. Burton, now holding an import- 
ant position with Swift & Company at Atlanta, Georgia; George T. Rags- 
dale, recently a teacher in the Louisville high schools; Bert E. Tapp, now 

Digitized by 



principal of the Union township high school, and Dr. Jesse Deer, of Thorn- 
town, all received diplomas for four years of high school work. 

Principal J. U. Jones, another alumnus of Franklin College, came to 
Trafalgar for four years, beginning in September, 1896. Jones was a fine 
disciplinarian and a scholarly instructor. In the year 1898 he graduated 
Chester Forsyth and Ernest Linton, both of whom are in good school posi- 
tions; Beverly Bridges (deceased) and Lora Pickerel; and in the following 
year Simon Roache, later principal of the Franklin high school and now of 
the faculty of Shortridge high school at Indianapolis, Warren Sparks and 
Stella Thompson. The last named alumna was so much to the principal's liking 
that he adopted her as a permanent part of his domestic staff, and he and his 
estimable wife now reside at Hammond, Indiana. 

George T. Ragsdale in 1900 came back to his "alma mater'' to teach the 
high school work for one year, and proved a popular and efficient pedagogue. 
He was followed by J. A. Moore for a four-year term, and the latter by 
Simon Roache for one year. In 1906 Augustus Summers was principal, and 
in 1907 J. V. Masters headed the school. Warren Yount became principal 
in 1908, and taught the last school in the old high school room. Before the 
end of the school year the building was condemned and the trustee took steps 
toward the purchase of another site. 

A long and bitter fight ensued between the school officials and a land- 
owner whose lands were condemned for the new school property. The courts 
sustained the school authorities, and at last, in 191 2, a contract was let for a 
new building which is at this writing nearing completion. The new building 
is a fine structure, equipped fully for school work, with the latest and best 
ideas in school architecture and will be a credit to the township and the town 
of Trafalgar in which it is located. 


High school work was first attempted in connection with the schools of 
Union township in September, 1888. From a class of thirteen common 
school graduates in the township the previous year came a demand for in- 
struction in the higher branches. Jefferson Vandivier, trustee, responded 
and engaged J. B. Lemasters to give such instruction at district No. 6, known 
as the Dollins school. When school opened only three presented themselves 
for the new work: Otis M. Vandivier (the present trustee), Henry R. Van- 
divier and Isaac B. Ennis, and work was begun along with other classes in the 
district school. 

Digitized by 




But a beginning was made and the next year the class followed Le- 
masters to district No. 8 (the Vandivier school), and to their number were 
added Livy A. Young and Orion Deer; the first year work in the same school 
being taken by Gussie Shuck, John Hall and E. C. Taylor. Lemasters must 
have had his hands full, as at the same time every grade of common school 
work was taught and the enrollment reached forty seven. 

In the autumn of 1890 the new district building of two rooms at Provi- 
dence was completed, the one being intended for common school, the other 
for high school. High school classes were not organized, however, until the 
succeeding year, when Mr. Lemasters was again instructor, and since that 
date high school work of some character or other has continued to be taught. 
In the Providence "high school" the following have been teachers of high 
school subjects: 1892, W. P. Garshwiler, now a prominent physician of 
Indianapolis; 1893, Edgar W. Abbott, alumnus of Franklin College, class of 
93; 1894, C. E. White; 1895, Mr. Lemasters again; 1896. John George; 
1897, Oren A. Province, now a successful physician of Franklin: 1898-02, 
W. B. Owens; 1902-04, Henry E. White; 1904, Everett Wiley. 

In the year 1905 the Providence school house was condemned and plans 
were at once formulated for a commodious graded high school building. 
After a legal contest over the question of its location the site now occupied 
(one mile south of Providence) was chosen. EHiring the period of construc- 
tion work on the new building, the high school work was taught in the aban- 
doned school house at "Turkey Hill/' in district No. 9, which district com- 
bined with district No. 5, Friendship, to form the graded school work at the 
new school house. 

The new graded high school was begun by Trustee James W. Brown in 
1905 and completed in the summer of 1906, at a cost of about thirteen thou- 
sand dollars. It is a substantial building, of good appearance, and of ade- 
quate size, and Union township has in this building the best results for the 
money expended of any township in the county. In the high school work, by 
this date fully organized, the following principals have had charge: 1906, 
Everett Wiley: 1907, J. B. Lemasters; 1908, Augustus Summers; 1909, M. J. 
Fleming: and from 1910 to the present time, Bert E. Tapp. The character of 
the work done is evidenced by the fact that the school was certified by the 
state board of education in 1909, and has now the requisite equipment to 
entitle it to a commission at the end of the present school year. 

Digitized by 




After the legal fight with Trustee James Williams over the vexed ques- 
tion of high school work elsewhere mentioned, no organized work of that 
character was attempted until 1897, when Ralph Jones taught some classes in 
advanced grade at a farm house in the township. In the succeeding year 
Trustee H. G. Williams built a two-room building at "No. 9," one room of 
which was intended for the high school. This was used as such until 191 1, 
when the present trustee, John T. Overstreet, erected a fine, modern structure, 
fully equipped, at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. The building consists 
of seven rooms, with basement, in which is installed the best type of heating 
plant and an electric lighting plant. During the fifteen years of high school 
work in the township seventy-seven have been graduated, an ample justifica- 
tion of this type of school in the rural districts. These students have all 
come from the farm and the country district school. In this, as in the other 
township high schools of the county, the principals in charge of the advanced 
work have been teachers of college training, able to do work equal to that 
done in the best city schools. 

Mr. Overstreet is building this year a new district school of the most 
approved type, and, while consolidation of schools has not beeij popular in the 
township, the eight district schools will, the trustee believes, soon take steps 
in that direction. 

The principals of the Clark township high school to this date are : Ralph 
Jones, 1897; C. P. Melton, 189S; Arthur Banta, 1899-01; Jesse C. Webb, 
1901; Omer Hougham, 1902; William Smith, 1903; Guilford Wiley, 1904- 
06; John Williams, 1906-10; Anna Byers, 1910; Agnes Tilson, 1911-13; 
Guilford Wiley, 1913. 


The old graded school building at ''Centner Grove" was built in 1884 by 
Trustee Gradner Wilkes. It was a small two-story structure, consisting of 
three school rooms and one recitation room. The first high school teacher 
was William V. King. At that time, and for several years afterward, part 
of the grade work and the liigh school work was tauglit in the same room 
by the same teacher. Later the work was arranged so that the grades were 
separated from the high school, and one teacher gave his entire time to the 

Digitized by 


i Iri 



Trustee J. Wesley Richardson built the present fine structure, in the 
years 1907- 1908, and with this school as the center, the works of consolidation 
of the schools of the township was begun. The new building consists of five 
rooms for the grades, a large assembly and recitation room for the high 
school, a library, and spacious rooms in the basement for manual training 
.and the gymnasium. The building is steam heated, and ventilated according 
to the best modern ideas, and is surrounded by ample playgrounds. 

In 1908, the first year of consolidation, there were enrolled about three 
hundred pupils, including the high school, and six of the tw^elve district 
schools were combined in this, the pupils being hauled in wagons. Four grade 
teachers were then employed, and two were engaged in the high school, and 
for the first time, music and drawing were placed in the curriculum. The 
attendance increasing, in 1909 two additional teachers were employed, one in 
the grades and one in the high school. The work now doing will entitle the 
high school to a commission in two more years. 

At present, two hundred pupils are enrolled and the work is equal to the 
best country high school. In 1911 the school graduated thirteen and in 1912 
fifteen, all having completed the regular four-year high school course. The 
present corps of teachers is: H. M. Nickels, superintendent; Jane Grace 
Dorsey, principal ; Helen Beers, assistant principal and instructor in art ; 
Grace Fulmer, seventh and eighth grades; Hazel Clary, fifth and sixth grades; 
Blanche Berryman, third and fourth grades : Vinnie Kegley, first and second 

Since the town of New^ Bargersville sprang up about seven years ago 
that village has grown amazingly, it now having a population of about four 
hundred. As this point is not conveniently located for transportation of 
children to Center Grove, Trustee J. J. Clary in 191 2 began the construction 
of a modern four-room graded school on a three-acre tract of land, con- 
veniently located for the village school children. The building was completed 
in time for the opening of school on September 22, 191 3. The enrollment 
for the first day was one hundred and forty-nine, which was increased in 
three weeks to one hundred and sixty-two. T. C. Wyrick is principal, and 
Lora Fulmer, Iva Johnson and Miss Boulby are other teachers. Miss Helen 
Beers has charge of the art and music work. 


Of the first schools in the town of Franklin no record remains and little 
is remembered. Judge Banta says : "Coming to Franklin township we find 
that the first schools were held in the log court house. A cloud of uncer- 

Digitized by 



tainty hangs over them. Dr. Pierson Murphy is known to have taught at an 
early period in the history of the town, but whether he was the first may be 
doubted. Aaron Lagrange attended his school seventeen days, which, he 
says, must have been about 1825. *I used Pike's arithmetic. Our other books 
were anything we could get. I remember we had Dilworth's spelling book.' 
In the winter of 1829-30, Thomas Graham is known to have taught in the log 
court house. John Tracy attended, walking from his father's house, a dis- 
tance of five or six miles. Gilderoy Hicks, who moved to the town in 1834 
and began the practice of law, which he successfully pursued for over twenty 
years, turned aside occasionally during the first years and taught school. An- 
other who is remembered to have taught in the town school during the earlier 
years was William G. Shellady." 

Prior to i860 school was also taught in **district schools" scattered about 
the town. The earliest of these stood at the northeast intersection of Jack- 
son and Jefferson streets, but no person now living and within reach of the 
author remembers any of the teachers at that house. One square north, at 
the northwest corner of Jackson and Madison, stood another school house, 
which James Sloan attended in 1850 and 185 1. Cyrus Wick, a son of Judge 
W. W. Wick, and Benjamin Davis taught school here in those years and later 
William Fitzpatrick was a teacher in this room. Still another school house 
was found at the alley on Home avenue, just north of Jefferson street, at the 
rear of Dr. Payne's lot. This was a large building of framed timbers and 
here a Mr. Hatch and a Mr. Smith kept a school, but later and better re- 
membered was the Rev. Mr. Brownlee's wife, who taught in this building 
after the academy was founded. Another school house stood on Yandes 
street where County Treasurer Bridges now lives, but nothing can be learned 
of the school taught there. While, without doubt, all these school houses 
were erected by the pioneer settlers for a public use, no record is found that 
the title to the real estate on which they stood ever vested in the ^^inhabitants" 
of any school district. It is equally certain that all the schools conducted in 
them were subscription schools, and not supported from public funds. 

As elsewhere noted, title to lot No. i in the Old Plat passed to school 
trustees under an order of the county board in March, 1829. And until the 
old academy ground was acquired in 1855 ^^^^ ^^as the only property vested 
in the school town of Franklin. The school house stood on the alley at the 
rear of the lot adjoining the Presbyterian church on the east and the only 
teacher remembered was Miss Christy Ann Peppard. 

For many years a private school was conducted in the basement of the 

Digitized by 



old Presbyterian church. Among the teachers in this church school were Mrs. 
McKee, wife of the pastor of the church, and after her health failed, Prof. 
John Quincy McKeehan, formerly of the Hopewell Academy, opened a 
school here, probably in the years 1865- 1867. A Mrs. Collins also taught in 
this room. 

Other private schools of the town were those of "Granny Myers" on 
E^st King, near Hurricane, and of Mrs. Ritchey in the New-School Presby- 
terian church, on South Home avenue. Mrs. Ritchey as well as Mrs. McKee 
were^ talented teachers, and indeed ample testimony is at hand that all the 
subscription schools and private schools of the early days of Franklin were 
conducted by teachers of good character and unusual attainments. 


The earliest record relating to school matters bears date of April 19, 
1854. While the town of Franklin was probably incorporated in the year 
1834, no records of official action prior to the first named date are preserved, 
and it is fairly certain that no schools were maintained by the town within 
the twenty year period, and it may be doubted whether any corporate action 
was undertaken until 1854. The record of April 19, 1854, shows the resigna- 
tion of Fabius M. Finch, Gilderoy Hicks aqd G. M. Overstreet, school trus- 
tees of the town of Franklin, and the appointment by the town board of their 
successors, Benjamin Leavitt, William Lewis and A. B. Hunter. 

On recommendation of this board of school trustees the town board, 
on May 26, 1854, **for the purpose of erecting and repairing necessary school 
houses, and for the purpose of maintaining and keeping in operation a graded 
common school'* in the town, levied a tax of twenty-five cents on each poll 
and of ten cents on each one hundred dollars of taxable property in the 
town, the ordinance to be eflfective after ten days publication in the Star of 
Hope. On June 9th, on petition of ninety-nine voters of the town, the levy 
was increased to fifty cents on each poll, and twenty-five cents on each one 
hundred dollars of property. 

For some reason, probably because no suitable building had yet been pro- 
vided, the town board, on January 28, 1855, directed the treasurer of the 
county not to collect any school tax for that year. But again on June 25th 
of that year a school tax was levied and thereafter taxes for school purposes 
were regularly levied. The first enumeration of school children was rep)orted 
to the board on October 14, 1858, and showed the number to be as follows: 
Males between the ages of five and thirteen, 113; females of same age, 81 ; 

Digitized by 



males between thirteen and twenty-one, ' 48, and females of same age, 43; a 
total of ^85. This did not include West Franklin, East Franklin, "the 
suburbs or the Hog Chute/' 

In the meantime the town had, on February 28, 1855, sold the school lot 
adjoining the Presbyterian church, and on June 28th of the same year had 
acquired lot five in John Herriott's addition on Monroe street, the "Old 
Academy" site. This was for many years the only public school in the town, 
except that residents of East FrankKn enjoyed school privileges on lot 62 on 
Monroe stree^t between Hougham and Forsyth streets, which had been bought 
by Franklin township in March, 1859. 

In the district school on East Monroe street the following teachers are 
remembered: Rosa Adams, afterward the wife of President Bailey of 
Franklin Cbllege; George W. Grubbs, now a prominent lawyer of Martins- 
ville ; Mary Forsyth, afterward married to Dr. P. W. Payne ; Lydia Dunlap 
(Brown) ; Mrs. Lacy and Mr. Rand. 

Among the teachers at the '*01d Academy" in the fifties, J. Hillman 
Watters and J. O. Martin are best remembered, Mrs. Ritchey, wife of the 
Rev. James Ritchey, also taught in the academy before she opened a school in 
the Cumberland Presbyterian church property on South Home avenue, which 
later became the property of the Catholic church. In 1866 F. M. Ferguson 
was engaged as superintendent of schools at a salary of eighty dollars per 
month, the use of the academy building, when not in use for public school, 
and to receive also all tuition fees of pupils attending from the outside. Fer- 
guson's assistants were G» C. Shirk, succeeded one month later by M. H. 
Belknap ; Myra Tresslar, Mrs. M. R. Isom. Miss Lydia Dunlap, Miss Mattie 

In 1867 Leander S. Burdick was elected superintendent and Frank O. 
Burdick, Laura Burdick (Polk),. Lydia Dunlap, Myra Tresslar, Jennie Sny- 
der, assistants. The board adopted a series of text books, including Willson's 
spellers, McGuffey's readers (new series), Payson-Dunton-Scribner's copy 
books, Guyot's geographies, Felter's primary arithmetic, Ray's intellectual 
and practical arithmetics, Ray's algebra, Ray's geometry and trigonometry, 
Pinneo's grammar. Green's analysis, Quackenbos' history. Cutter's physiology 
and Wells' philosophy. 

In this year (1867) Judge Banta was secretary of the board and he ap- 
pended to tTie minutes of the meetings many interesting "notes," giving opin- 
ions, arguments and incidents connected with the board's actions. So also in 
the year following, when the di!w:ussion was opened as to the propriety of 

Digitized by 






increasing the school facilities, Judge Banta gives many facts "outside the 
record/* He tells of the prior use of the academy as a Sunday school room, 
and the annoyance caused thereby ; he says further : 'The public mind had 
awakened to the necessity of something being done towards procuring more 
school room ; we had rented the Ritchey school room at ten dollars per 
month, the past season, and the basement of the Presbyterian church had 
been secured. The board, or at least a majority, was anxious to have some 
expression from the public, and about this time (August i, 1868) a meeting 
was called at the academy to consider the matter. This meeting was well 
attended and from the speeches and votes of those present the board was 
assured that a new and elegant school house was demanded.'' 

Later, he says, "The opinions advanced by those who took an interest in 
the new school building were various. There were those who insisted upon 
building an addition to the academy, and this proposition was seriously con- 
sidered by the board. Others were in favor of building ward school houses, 
which should be in the architectural style of the country school houses and 
maintaining therein a system of ungraded schools. The board never dis- 
cussed the proposition. Others still were in favor of building an elegant 
house which should be an ornament to the city and be suited to the advanced 
educational ideas of the time.'^ 

On December 17, 1868, the board contracted with L. P. Ritchey for a 
site at the corner of Water and Jackson streets, at the sum of three thousand 
dollars. Contract was let for the new building to McCormick & Sweeny at 
the sum of thirty-one thousand eight hundred and sixty dollars, and in July 
following city bonds were issued to the amount of thirty thousand dollars. 

In the school year of 1868-69 the corps of teachers consisted of Profes- 
sor Burdick, superintendent; Julia Talbott, Lydia Dunlap, Laura Overstreet, 
Mrs. Isom and G. M. Overstreet, Jr. In the year following (1869-1870) 
Burdick was again chosen, with Laura Overstreet, Lydia Dunlap, Laura 
Barnum, Mr. Strawn, Alice Tilson and Angeline Dunlap as grade teachers. 
In September, 1870, the board again employed Mr. Burdick, but because of 
opposition from citizens of the town, the board resigned in a "huff'' and T. 
W. Woollen, Cas Byfield and A. B. Hunter were appointed trustees by the 
county auditor. It was decided not to open the public school until the new 
building on Water street was finished, and Miss Lydia Dunlap and Miss Sue 
Dickey were allowed to conduct a private school in the "Old Academy" until 
the opening of the public schools. 

School was opened in the new building on February 8, 1871, with H. H 

Digitized by 



Boyce superintendent, his wife as principal of the high school and the follow- 
ing teachers: Rose M. Smith, Lydia Brown, Sue EHckey, Emma Watters, 
Mrs. Belle Isom, Hattie Morgan, B. H. E>avis, Tillie Brunger, Flora Green. 
Mrs. Isom was soon succeeded by Mary Shillito. 

With Superintendent Boyce's administration began a new era in school 
affairs. He and his wife received two thousand fifty dollars per year, a large 
salary for the time, but Superintendent Boyce was a fine school man and gave 
to Franklin its first graded school system. He organized a high school and 
in every department of school work made his influence felt as an educator and 
disciplinarian. Boyce continued at the head of the school until the close of 
the school year, May 23, 1873, when the first annual commencement exer- 
cises were held and Emma Belle Forsyth became the first graduate of the 
Franklin high school. 

This high school was taught on the third floor of the new building, until 
the autumn of 1887, when a new high school building was ready for occupancy 
at the old Academy site on Monroe street. In 1898. the Monroe street high 
school building was much enlarged, but increased attendance and advance- 
ment in educational methods made it necessary to again seek a new site, and 
the year 1909-1910 saw the completion of the present fine structure on Hurri- 
cane street at the east end of Madison. The following facts relating to the 
present high school building, as well as more general information as to the 
work of the schools in Franklin in recent years, are for the most part taken 
from superintendent Alva Otis Neal's report at the close of his term. 

The site for a new high school building was selected by the school board 
on July 28, 1908, the one chosen being a tract of ground one hundred and 
thirty-two by two hundred and seventy-seven feet on Hurricane street facing 
west between Jefferson and King streets, at a price of $7,700. on which were 
located buildings of the estimated value of $1,200. The contract for the 
building was awarded on December i, 1908, to M. M. Winship & Son at the 
sum of $42,403. The heating plant was constructed at a cost of about $5,500; 
the vacuum cleaning plant at a cost of $997.00: the sanitary wardrobes at a 
cost of $472; the entire plant, therefore, including fixtures and furnishings, 
represents an outlay of about $60,000. To meet this charge, a bond issue of 
$40,000 was authorized on September 15, 1908, and on December 15th of the 
same year bonds in said sum bearing four per cent, interest were issued, and 
were later sold at a small premium. 

The ground of the new site was broken in Xovember, 1908, and the 
corner stone was laid with appropriate public ceremony by the Masonic grand 

Digitized by 




lodge on February 12, 1909. The building was ready for occupancy on 
September 12, 1909, and school work for the year was begun at the regular 
time. The formal dedication exercises were hdd in the new auditorium on 
February 10, 1910, Superintendent A. O. Neal presenting the building on 
behalf of the board of trustees, William G. Oliver responding on behalf of the 
city, Principal VanRiper on bdialf of tfie faculty, Prof. C. H. Hall on behalf 
of the college, and Fred R. Owens for the alumni. In the evening, the more 
formal addresses were given by Dr. J. N. Hurty, secretary of the state board 
of health, and ty the Hon. Thomas R. Marshall, gx>vemor of the state. 

At the close of Superintendent Neal's wortc in the Franklin schools, he, 
in an address to the school board, summarized the three years' work in a 
report spread upon the minutes of the board, a part of which we quote : 

"Each year's work consisted of nine months of twenty days each, or one 
hundred eighty days to the year. Ehiring this time, we have had three en- 
forced vacations upon the order of the board of health, due to the prevalence 
of small-pox, scarlet fever and measles. In no case, however, did the board 
of health trace the source of infection to the conditions at any of the schools. 
The system of weekly disinfection by formaldehyde lamps, and superior work 
on the part of the janitors and teachers has made sanitary conditions most 
satisfactory for the health and work of the pupils. 


**The enumeration during the past three years has shown a decrease from 
year to year, due in a large measure to the decreasing size of families. One 
interesting fact is set forth in the following tabulation of the enumeration, 
showing the diminishing size of families (under the enumeration of 1910) : 

Families of i child of school age 259 

Families of 2 children of school age 147 

Families of 3 children of school age 72 

Families of 4 children of school age 34 

Families of 5 children of school age 8 

Families of 6 children of school age 4 

Families of 7 children of school age i 

Digitized by 



''Enumeration of all children of school age : 

Colored White Colored 

Boys. Girls. Girls. 

38 519 57 

37 509 58 

35 487 55 

"In enrollment and attendance, there has been a decided increase. This 
is caused (i) by holding the children in school for a longer period, and 
(2) by the increase in the number of transferred children. 















% Boys. 

% Girls. 

% Total. 






















"Salaries have been increased due in most part to the operation of the 
new wage law. The monthly pay-roll for the year 1908- 1909 was $2,311.44, 
which was increased to $2,512.53 the ensuing year. 

"The Franklin high school in the past two years has been, upon special 
examination and inspection, accredited by the North Central Association of 
Colleges and Universities, and likewise is affiliated with Chicago University. 
This means that our graduates are permitted to enter the freshman classes 
of the institutions, without entrance examinations and conditions. Franklin 
is also commissioned by the state board of education. This year two scholar- 
ships are open to graduates from the Franklin high school, one from Chicago 
University, the other from Oxford College for Women, at Oxford, Ohio. 
Other activities not directly connected w'ith school work, but closely associ- 
ated with it, have been instituted. Prominent among these, is the high school 
orchestra. In the English classes, a debating club, and in the history classes 
a Senate have been organized. In the Southeastern Indiana Association of 
High Schools, composed of Madison, Lawrenceburg, Aurora, North Vernon, 
Seymour and Franklin, at the first meeting two years ago, Franklin took 
first in reading and tied for first place in oratory. This year we took first 
place in oratory, and third place in reading. A Corn Club of sixty-five mem- 
bers, and a girls' sewing and cooking club of eighty members have been doing 
excellent work. 


Digitized by 






"The enrollment in the high school has steadily grown, and especially to 
be noted is the increased enrollment of boys : 

Year. Boys. Girls. Total. 

1908 94 137 221 

1909 137 III 248 

1910 144 143 287 

"The graduating class of 1907 had 33 members (17 girls and 16 boys) ; 
class of 1908, 28 girls and 9 boys; class of 1909, 32 girls and 5 boys; 1910, 
21 girls and 26 boys. 

"The city schools have drawn upon the neighboring communities, and 
we have had non-resident pupils as follows: 1907-08, 96; 1908-09, 104; 
1909-10, 114. 

"Under the provision of the Indiana transfer law the tuition is now based 
upon per capita cost of maintaining the school, and receipts from that source 
have increased from $1,600 in 1907 to $3,072 in 1909." 

Beginning with the more liberal support of the schools dating from 
about 1870, the Franklin schools have steadily grown in usefulness. A nine- 
mOnths school was begufi in the school year of 1871-72. The work of 
classifying studies and grades, so ably begim by Superintendent Boyce, was 
much furthered by Superintendent Arnold Tompkins, a school man of state- 
wide reputation. Supt. W. J. Williams came to the Franklin public schools 
from the college and was especially liked for his kindness of heart and per- 
sonal interest in the individual child. Of the later superintendents. Supts. 
Horace Ellis, H. B. Wilson and Alva O. Neal are still engaged in educational 
work of high character, and later historians must write their story. 

A sun-ey of the school records impresses the observer with the high 
character of the grade teachers in the city schools during the past 40 years, 
and with the fact that so many of them remained so long with the schools. It 
were invidious perhaps to speak of the present teaching force, but mention 
ought to be made of the long and splendid service of Miss Jennie Dunlap, 
Beginning her work in the schools in the fall of 1873, she has faithfully 
seryed the schools of this city continuously to this day, with the exception 
possibly of the school year 1880-81. For forty years she has given herself 
to this high calling, and for the most part has had charge of the pupils during 
their first years of work. To keep pace with the advance in educational 
methods and meet the demands of the school room for two score years 
characterizes the work of Miss Dunlap better than words of praise. 

Digitized by 



Others of the corps of teachers who are especially remembered for their 
work are Mrs. Martha Coleman Johnson and Mrs. Lydia Dunlap Brown, who 
continued to be identified with the schools from the last of the sixties to the 
middle of the eighties; Mrs. Augusta F. White, Jennie Thompson, Alice 
Farley, Laura Overbay, Fannie McMurray, and Alice Crowell, all of whom 
taught in the grades for many years. Of the high school teachers, none are 
more kindly remembered than Miss Kittie Palmer. Miss Palmer began work 
in the grades in 1883, was made assistant to the principal of the high school 
in 1885, and in 1887 was elected principal. This place she filled with signal 
ability for twelve years, much loved for her charm of manner and her engag- 
ing personality. 

This brief mention of teachers must close with a note as to the long and 
honorable service of Miss Nettie Craft, now teacher of science in the high 
school. She began teaching in the grades in 1890, and has since been con- 
nected with the high school staff. She enjoys an enviable reputation among 
the student body and the alumni of recent years. 


By the act of May 13, 1869, colored children were admitted to free com- 
mon school privileges, and for a time thereafter the colored school children 
were enrolled at the old district school building near the east end of Monroe 
street. But this school was sold on July 16, 1870, and no permanent pro- 
vision were made for the colored children until 1873, when the school board 
purchased two lots on West Madison street, and contracted with Bergen & 
Company to build a school house there. The first teacher employed there was 
Miss Laura Overbay in 1875-76. 


Inasmuch as the success in any undertaking is very largely determined 
by the personnel of its management, the following table will be of interest : 

t866 — President, F. S. Woodcock, H. T. Buff: secretary, M. D. Gage; 
treasurer, A. B. Morey: superintendent, F. M. Furgason. 

1867 — President, S. P. Oyler; secretary, D. D. Banta; treasurer, P. W. 
Payne; superintendent, Leander S. Burdick. 

J 868 — President, S. P. Oyler; secretary, D. D. Banta; treasurer, P. W. 
Payne, superintendent, Leander S. Burdick. 

Digitized by 



1869 — President, J. O. Martin: secretary, D. D. Banta; treasurer, P. W. 
Payne; superintendent, Leander S. Burdick. 

1870 — President, Thomas Woolen; secretary, A. B. Hunter; treasurer, 
Charles Byfield; superintendent, Leander S. Burdick. 

1871 — President, Thomas Woolen; secretary, A. B. Hunter; treasurer, 
Charles Byfield; superintendent, H. H. Boyce; principal, Mrs. Boyce. 

1872 — President, Thomas Woolen; secretary, A. B. Hunter; treasurer, 
Charles Byfield; superintendent, H. H. Boyce; principal, Mrs. Boyce. 

1873 — President, I. J. Armstrong; secretary, A. B. Colton; treasurer, 
Geo. F. Herriott; superintendent, W. W. Thompson; principal, Mrs. W. W. 

1874 — President, I. J. Armstrong; secretary, A. B. Colton; treasurer, 
Geo. F. Harriott ; superintendent, D. Eckley Hunter ; principal, Jennie Neely. 

1875 — President, I. J. Armstrong; secretary, P. W. Payne; treasurer, 
A. B. Colton; superintendent,, J. H. Martin; principal, Mrs. J. H. Martin. 

1876 — President, P. W. Payne; secretary, W. H. McLaughlin; treasurer, 
L J. Armstrong; superintendent, J. H. Martin; principal, Mrs. J. H. Martin. 

1877 — President, S. P. Oyler; secretary, W. H. McLaughlin; treasurer, 
L J. Armstrong; superintendent, J. H. Martin; principal, Mrs. White. 

1878 — President, S. P. Oyler; secretary, W. H. McLaughlin; treasurer, 
L J. Armstrong; superintendent. J. H. Martin; principal, Mrs. Martin. 

1879 — President, S. P. Oyler; secretary, S. P. Rowe; treasurer, L J. 
Armstrong; superintendent, J. H. Martin; principal, Mrs. Martin. 

1880 — President, L J. Armstrong; secretary, S. P. Rowe; treasurer, M. 
Turner; superintendent, J. H. Martin; principal, E. W. Kemp. 

1881 — President, John T. Vawter; secretary, M. Turner; treasurer, S. 
P. Rowe ; superintendent. E. W. Kempt ; principal, Mary Adams. 

1882 — President, John T. Vawter; secretary, J. R. Fesler; treasurer, H. 

C. Bamett; superintendent, Arnold Tompkins: principal, Mr. Barnett. 

1883 — President, R. Fesler; secretary, W. A. Johnson: treasurer, John 
T. Vawter; superintendent, Arnold Tompkins; principal, Mr. Barnett. 

1884 — President, W. A. Johnson; secretary, L Mclaughlin; treasurer, 
J. R. Fesler: superintendent, Arnold Tompkins: principal, E. L. Stephenson. 

1885 — President. L McLaughlin: secretary, Leon Ritchey; treasurer, 
W. A. Johnson ; superintendent, Mr. Kirsch : principal, Mr. Martin. 

1886 — President, Leon Ritchey: secretary, D. H. Miller: treasurer, W. 
H. McLaughlin : superintendent, P. H. Kirsch : principal, Baily Martin. 

1887 — President, D. H. Miller: secretary, W. H. McLaughlin; treasure^ 

D. H. Miller: superintendent, W. J. Williams: principal, Kitty Palmer. 

Digitized by 



1888 — President, W. H. McLaughlin; secretary, E. C. Miller; treasurer, 
D. H. Miller ; superintendent. W. J. Williams ; principal, Kitty Palger. 

1889 — President, W. H. McLaughlin; secretary, W. A. McNaughton; 
treasurer, E. C. Miller; superintendent, W. J. Wiljiams; principal, Kitty 

1890 — President, W A.. McNaughton; secretary, A. B. Colton; treas- 
urer, E. C. Miller ; superintendent, W. J. Williams ; principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1891 — President, A. B. Colton; secretary, E. C Miller; treasurer; W. A. 
McNaughton: superintendent, W. J. Williams; principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1892 — President, E. C. Miller; secretary, R. C. Wood; treasurer, A. B. 
Colton; superintendent, W. J. Williams; Principal, Will Featherngill. 

1893 — President, R. C. Wood: secretary, A. A. Blizzard.: treasurer, E. 
C Miller; superintendent. Will Featherngill; principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1894 — President, A. A. Blizzard; secretary, E. C. Miller: treasurer; R. 
C. Wood ; superintendent. Will Featherngill : principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1895 — President, E. C. Miller ; secretary, R. C. Wood ; treasurer, A. A. 
Blizzard: superintendent. Will Featherngill; principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1896 — President, R. C. Wood; secretary, A. A. Blizzard: treasurer, E. 
C. Miller ; superintendent, Will Featherngill ; principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1897 — President, A. A. Blizzard; secretary, W. H. Younce; treasurer, 
R. C. Wood; superintendent. Will Featherngill: principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1898 — President, W. H. Younce; secretary, R. C. Wood; treasurer, A. 
A. Blizzard; superintendent, N. C. Johnson: principal, Kitty Palmer. 

1899 — President, R. C. Wood; secretary, C. A. Overstreet; treasurer, 
W. H. Younce: superintendent, N. C. Johnson: Principal, A. O. Neal. 

1900 — President, C. A. Overstreet: secretary, W. H. Younce: treasurer, 
R. C. Wood; superintendent, Horace Ellis; principal, A. O. Neal. 

1901 — President, W. H. Younce; secretary, R. C. Wood; treasurer, C. 
A.. Overstreet; superintendent, Horace Ellis: principal, A. O. Neal. 

1902 — President, R. C. Wood; secretary, C. A. Overstreet: treasurer, 
W. H. Younce: superintendent, H. B. Wilson: principal, C. R. Parker. 

1903 — President, C. A. Overstreet: secretary, R. M. Miller; treasurer, 
R. C. Wood ; superintendent, H. B. Wilson ; principal, George B. Asbery. 
1904 — President, R. M. Miller: secretary. R. C. Wood; treasurer, C. A. 
C>verstreet; superintendent, H. B. Wilson; principal, Herriott C. Palmer.* 

1905 — President. R. C. Wood: secretary, C. A. Overstreet; treasurer, 
^- K4. Miller ; superintendent, H. B. Wilson ; principal B. D. Remy. 

1906 — President, C. A. Overstreet: secretary. Dr. Clarence Province; 
^r^asurer, R. C. Wood; superintendent, H. B. Wifeon: principal's. D: Remy. 

Digitized by 


! J 



I ji 



1907 — President, Clarence Province; secretary, W. W. Aikens; treas- 
urer, C. A. Overstreet ; superintendent, Alva O. Neal ; principal, B. D. Remy. 

1908 — President, W. W. Aikens; secretary, H. C. Bamett; treasurer, 
Clarence Province ; superintendent, Alva O. Neal ; Principal. 

' 1909 — President, H. C. Bamett; secretary, Clarence Province; treasurer, 
W. W. Aikens ; superintendent, Alva O. Neal ; principal, Paul Van Riper. 

1910 — President, Clarence Province; secretary, Chas. B. Henderson; 
treasurer, H. C. Bamett; superintendent, Paul Van Riper; principal, Simon 

1911 — President, Chas. B. Henderson; secretary, Hugh A. Payne; 
treasurer, Arthur A. Alexander; superintendent, Paul Vari Riper; principal, 
Simon Roache. 

1912 — President, Chas. B. Henderson; secretary^ Hugh A. Payne; treas- 
urer, Arthur A. Alexander ; superintendent, Paul Van Riper ; principal, John 
Stanley Williams. 

1 91 3 — President, Hugh A. Payne; secretary, Arthur A. Alexander; 
treasurer, Chas. B. Henderson; superintendent, Paul Van Riper; principal, 
John Stanley Williams. 


High School. 

Paul Van Riper — Superintendent, per year $1,700.00 

John Williams — Principal and History, per year 1,000.00 

Nettie Craft — Vice-principal and Science, per month 90.00 

Leta Hall — Latin, per month 75-00 

Edwin Deming — Commercial, per month 85.00 

Maude Johnson — English, per month 70.00 

Virgil Smiley — Science, per month 70.00 

Susie Wohrer — English, per month 80.00 

Cora Wedeking — German, per month 80.00 

Ida Middleton — History, per month 80.00 

Anton Wegener — Mathematics, per month 80.00 

Doris Linton — Latin, per recitation 10.00 


I. W. Linton — 8A, per month $80.00 

Milas Drake — 7B, per month 75-00 

Kate Graves — 7A, per month 68.00 

Digitized by 



Mint Sutton — 8B, per month 68.60 

W. A. Hutching — Principal, per month 70.00 

Clara Byers — 6B, per month 68.95 

Katherine Hanchan — 5A, per month 69.26 

Mable Behymer — 5B, per month 69.00 

Laura Walden — ^Ay per month . 1 69.30 

Grace White — ^4B, per month 65.00 

Hazel Stout — 3A, per month 64.36 

Jennie Dunlat — ^3B, per month 68.00 

Nelle Graves — 2A, per month 69.30 

Lula Freeman — 2B, per month 68.50 

Viola White — lA, per month 69.00 

Amber Dungan — iB, per month 69.44 

Bertha Rose — iB, per month : 68.88 

Colored School. 

H. C. Williams, per month $67.90 

Bessie Evans, per month 78.66 


Rose Meredith — Music and Sewing, per month $60.00 

Edith Palmer — Drawing and Handwork, per month 70.00 

Ethelyn Lagrange — Office Work, per month 20.00 

Ethelyn Lagrange — Domestic ^Science, per class 10.00 

Janitors, five, wages, per month $200.00 


The best account of the history of the college in its earlier days is given 
in a paper read by the Hon. William C. Thompson, prepared for the *']\x\>\\tt'' 
exercises held at the college in commencement week of 1884, celebrating the 
close of the first half century of Franklin College. It was entitled a ^'History 
of the Board of Directors,'' and found a place in a small volume printed by 
the Journal and Messenger in 1884, and is herewith reprinted in full: 

"The history of the several boards of directors of Franklin College may 
naturally be divided into two periods. The first period includes the time 
from the earliest beginnings of the college, in 1834, to the suspension, in 1872, 
during which time Franklin College was under the control of the Indiana Bap- 

Digitized by 



i; |1 tist Education Society. The second period embraces the time from 1872 

to the present (1884), during which time the college has been managed by a 
joint-stock association styled the Tranklin College Association.' The Educa- 
tion Society was composed of delegates from Baptist churches, associations, 
and auxiliary church societies, the number of delegates being in proportion 
to the amount of money contributed by each organization to the treasury of 
the Education Society. Individuals of whatever religious faith were allowed 
to become either annual or life members on the payment of a small sum. 

"The object of the Education Society was to promote intelligence and 
learning among the Baptists of Indiana, and the society was managed by a 
board of directors, and the members of this board, or enough to constitute a 
majority, were required to be members of Baptist churches. • The purposes of 
the Education Society were vast and far-reaching. Its board of directors was 
granted power to establish one or more literary or theological seminaries, 
and to appoint trustees for the government of the same, to be chosen annually. 
The trustees thus chosen were required to report annually to the board of the 
Education Society. 

"With the founding and progress of the Education Society, it is not tlie 
purpose of this paper specially to deal. Some facts must be stated, however, 
to make what follows intelligible. The first meeting of the Baptist friends 
of education was held June 5, 1834, at the Baptist meeting house in Indi- 
anapolis. William Rees was chosen chairman, and Ezra Fisher, clerk. The 
meetihg passed resolutions and discussed the educational needs of the state; 
appointed a committee on correspondence, and to draft a permanent constitu- 
tion ; also to examine proposed sites for the future institution of learning. 

"The next meeting was held at Franklin, October 2-4, 1834. when several 
brethren were appointed to write for the press and arouse the Baptists of 
Indiana on the subject of education, and a committee was appointed to draft 
a constitution for the new institution of learning. The Educational Society 
next met at Indianapolis, January 14-15, 1835, and completed its organization 
by adopting a constitution and electing officers. A constitution was also 
adopted for the Indiana Baptist Institution, as it was then called, and sub- 
scription papers for the location of the college were issued for four different 
places, Indianapolis, Franklin, St. Omer and Mr. J. M. Robinson's place, the 
last two places both being situated in Decatur county, near the present town of 
Adams. These subscription papers were to be returned at the meeting of the 
board of the Education Society at Indianapolis in June following. Accord- 
ingly, June 3. 1835, the subscription paper of J. M. Robinson, and that of 
Samuel Harding, on behalf of Franklin, were presented and referred to a 

Digitized by 



Digitized by 




Digitized by 



committee consisting of Ezra Fisher, Eliphalet Williams and Lewis Morgan, 
to examine the proposed sites and report as soon as possible. The board 
of the Education Society again met June 24, 11835, and heard the report 
of the committee on location, and it was agreed *by a unanimous vote of all 
present to locate the institution known as the Indiana Baptist Manual Labor 
Institute at Franklin, Johnson county, Indiana, on the site east of town.' 

"The record does not reveal just what inducements were offered by the 
diflferent places. Indianapolis and St. Omer seem to have dropped out of the 
contest, and the location of the institution at Franklin is without doubt due to 
the tact and energy of Samuel Harding and Lewis Morgan. Of the three 
members of the committee on location, Ezra Fisher and Lewis Morgan 
favored Franklin, and Williams favored either Indianapolis or St. Omer. 

"At the same meeting, June 24, 1835, the Education Society appointed 
thirty-five men a board of directors of the Indiana Baptist Manual Labor 
Institute. The list is as follows: Lewis Morgan, Samuel Harding, Jeffer- 
son D. Jones, Samuel Herriott, John Foster, Dr. Pierson Murphy, Nicholas 
Shaffer, Robert Gillcrees, George King, Milton Stapp, Jesse L. Holman, 
George Matthews, John McCoy, Seth Woodruff, Joseph Chamberlain, Silas 
Jones, William B. Ewing, H. J. Hall, J. L. Richmond, Henry Bradley, Samuel 
Merrill, N. B. Palmer, Ezra Fisher, Robert Thomson, George Hunt, John 
Walker, William Phelps, Wilhani Reeal James V. A. Woods, Eliphalet 
Williams, John Hawkins, D. Thomas, Wmi'Pblk, Byrum Lawrence, and Wm. 
Stansil. Of this first board of directors, three are still living (1884), 
Eliphalet Williams, at Lebanon, Indiana; William Stansil, at Sullivan, Indi- 
ana, and Nicholas Shaffer in Oregon. - 

"The new board of' directors, in accordance with the instructions of the 
Education Society, met July 18, 1835, and perfected an organization by elect- 
ing Samuel Harding, president: Jesse L. Holman and Samuel Merrill, 
vice-presidents: Samuel Herriott, secretary; and Nicholas Shaffer, treasurer. 
Committees were appointed to prepare by-laws for the regulation of the 
board : also to superintend the surveying and platting of lots of land donated 
to the college. The treasurer was required to give bond in the sum of twenty- 
five thousand dollars, » an amount supposed to be commensurate with the 
responsibilities of the position. The board also took steps toward securing 
the temporary use of the public school house in Franklin. 

"Up to this time, the institution had received donations of land from 
George King and Harvey McCaslin.* Mr. King's donation consisted of a 

♦The deei of George Kin^ bears da^*^ March 24, 1838; that of Harvey McC!aal1n is 
dated April 2, 1838. It may be, however, that the board was in possession of these 
lands as early as Mr. Thompson asserts — Author. 

Digitized by 



three-acre strip of land running east and west through what is now the cen- 
tral part of the college campus. Mr. McCaslin's donation consisted of five 
acres, which now forms the south side of the campus, and the north side of 
Joseph A. Dunlap's land. The institution had also bought from Austin 
Shipp an eighty-acre tract of land lying just east of the five-acres donated by 
McCaslin. The institution had no money and but few subscriptions ; yet the 
treasurer was ordered to collect money for making the first payments on the 
land bought of Mr. Shipp. At its second meeting, August 6, 1835, the 
board adopted by-laws, appointed Lewis Morgan, Henry Bradley and Samuel 
Harding a committee to divide the state into four agency districts, and tried 
either to rent or to purchase the house of Mr. Doan for school purposes, the 
house being situated on what is now the east side of the college campus. 

'*On October 8, 1835, Samuel Merrill, N. B. Palmer, Henry Bradley, 
Lewis Morgan and J. L. Richmond were appointed to procure a charter 
from the Legislature, and were afterward instructed to procure the charter 
with full collegiate powers. The first actiop of the board toward the erec- 
tion of a building was taken at this same meeting, and Jeflferson D. Jones, 
Robert Gillcrees and Pierson Murphy were appointed a building committee, 
to submit plans and estimates. In December, 1835, Ezra Fisher was ap- 
pointed superintending agent, but declined, and the following January Lewis 
Morgan was appointed in his stead, and Harding, Fisher and Bradley were 
appointed to prepare instructions for the agents. With the exception of some 
local agency work done by Samuel Harding, Lewis Morgan was therefore 
the first college agent. At the same meeting, Merrill, Harding and Morgan 
were made a committee to recommend a suitable teacher ; the building com- 
mittee was ordered to erect a frame building, twenty-six by thirty-eight feet, 
to be finished by May i, 1836, and an order of fifty dollars was granted the 
building committee, the first order was issued by the college. On February 
16, 1836, the building committee reported a contract with James K. Gwinn, 
a carpenter of Franklin, for the erection of a 'seminary,* as it was called, and 
the building was finished the following summer, at a cost of about three hun- 
dred and fifty dollars, not including the cost of seats. The building was 
ordered to be painted white, and was located a little to the west and south of 
the present south college building. 

"On July 6, 1836, J. L. Richmond, James V. A. Woods and Lewis Mor- 
gan were appointed to draft regulations for the seminary, and to procure a 
suitable teacher, and the agent, Lewis Morgan, was authorized to rent the 
seminary building for a school room until the next meeting of the board.* 

*Prof. John S. Hougham adds that at this meeting the first report of Agent Morgan 

Digitized by 



Thus ended the first year's work of the first board of directors of Franklin 
College, and looking back now at the means and resources with which it 
worked, it must be said that there had been material progress. A building 
had been erected and partly paid for, and the college lands had been partially 
cleared. What was most needed was a competent teacher. . On this matter 
of a teacher, the board took somewhat decisive action October 5, 1836. The 
committee formerly appointed to recommend a teacher was discharged and 
the board itself elected as principal of the seminary, Prof. John Stevens, of 
Cincinnati, afterward, for many years, a professor in Denison University. 
Professor Stevens, however, declined and on January 4, 1837, the board 
voted 'that the Hon. Jesse L. Holman be respectfully invited to accept the 
office of principal of the Indiana Baptist Manual Labor Institute, and that be 
devote so much of his time and attention to this institute as will not ma- 
terially interfere with the duties of the office of judge of the United States 
district court.' As the judge's district included the entire state of Indiana, 
we are not surprised to learn that he declined the offer, 'believing that it 
would interfere with his judicial duties.* The board was still, in April, 1837, 
in want of a teacher, and Lewis Morgan was again appointed to procure a 
'suitable person.' That suitable person seems to have been the Rev. A. R. 
Hinckley, then, or soon afterwards, pastor of the Baptist church at Franklin, 
who taught for a short time in the summer and early fall of 1837.* 

''Meanwhile, the board had secured the services of the Rev. A. F. Tilton, 
of Maine, a graduate of Waterville College, now Colby University. Professor 
Tilton entered upon the duties of his office about the ist of October, 1837, 
and continued to hold the position for three years. Professor Tilton and the 
board seriously misunderstood one another from the beginning, owing to 
the tardiness with which the Professor's salary w^as paid, and the fact that no 
adequate assistance was furnished him in teaching. At one time, the board 
voted to employ assistance as soon as the number of students reached forty. 
But serious obstacles were in the way in employing competent teachers and 
agents. At different times, Moses Burbank, of Shelb)rville, Kentucky, the 
Rev. F. A. Williams, of Newton, Massachusetts, and the Rev. J. W. Haynes, 
of Tennessee, were elected agents, but Mr. Haynes was the only one who 

was received, showing total subscriptions received by him of $665, of which $77 was In 
cash, with collections of $122.50 on old subscriptions, making the total cash resources, 
counting a former balance of $11.50, In the sum of $211. The agent and his assistant 
were allowed for their services $198.50, just one dollar less than the total cash by 
them collected. — Author. 

♦Rev. Mr. Hinckley was the first teacher under direction of the trustees. He re- 
ceived forty dollars for his services. — Author. 

Digitized by 






**While Professor Tilton was teaching in the bare unfurnished little semi- 
nary, Lewis Morgan was platting and selling lots of the college grounds, w^hat 
is now known as Morgan's plat of East Franklin. Financial relief came but 
slowly in this way, as real estate was too abundant to command a high price, 
and all sales had. to be made on time. The agency work met with many dis- 
couragements, as up to November 25, 1 841, more than a year after Professor 
Tilton's resignation, the total subscriptions amounted to but $2,900 and a 
large part of this amount was uncollected.* 

**To meet payments on the land bought from Mr. Shipp, a loan had to 
be negotiated from the surplus revenue fund, which was afterward repaid by 
funds collected by the agents. At one time, the board bargained for a sale of 
abotit twenty-five acres of the college lands at a very fair price, but the land 
afterward depreciating in value, the purchaser refused to consummate the 
contract and the board compromised with him, instead of standing upon its 
rights Yet. there was progress under Professor Tilton. On the subject of 
'philosophical apparatus,' the board went so far as to pass a resolution and 
appoint a committee in January, 1838. The first examining committee was 
appointed at the same time. They were A. R. Hinckley, David Monfort and 
Lewis Morgan, and the records show^ the committee did its work. A cooper 
shop was built under the supervision of Jefferson D. Jones, and James Frary 
did the work in the spring of 1838. The first exhibition was given in the 
summer of 1838. Professor Tilton, A. R. Hinckley, and Nicholas Shaffer 
prepared the ^schemes/ as the programs were then called, and Travis Burnett 
built the stage. A 'scheme' of that exhibition would now be sought after.** 

'With a liberality beyond its means, the board, on July 4, 1838, voted 
to appropriate one hundred dollars for philosophical apparatus and a bell. 
The apparatus was not soon forthcoming, and the bell did not arrive until the 
fall of 1839. On Christmas day of that year, Jefferson D. Jones was author- 
ized 'to obtain a handle to the bell of sufficient strength to ring it, and to 
erect a frame on which to place the bell as economically and substantially as 
he can.* The bell was skillfully hung in the forks of a tree, but it either gave 
forth an uncertain and unmusical sound, or else the mischievous students of 

♦Professor HouRham savs: "Mr. TUton entered upon his duties at a salary of six 
hunr'red ('ollars, and the impression made by the new professor was favorable. The 
price fixed for tuition was twelve dollars a year for reading, writing, arithmetic. Eng- 
lish grammar, ani geography: and for the higher branches of English and the ancient 
languages, sixteen dollars, which last were subsequently raised to twenty dollars a 
year. — Author. 

♦♦Profeppor Hougham recalled that William S. Holman, a son of Jesse L. Holman, 
member of the board, was the most prominent student in the exercises of the day. — 

Digitized by 



the little seminary in the woods must have cracked it in their midnight 
pranks, for, some three years later, we find that Professor Robinson is 
ordered to get the bell cast over. At the exhibition of 1839. Judge William 
W. Wick delivered an address, which was afterward published. This was 

/the first public address delivered on behalf of the college on such an occasion. 
"After Professor Tilton's resignation in the fall of 1840,* William M. 
Pratt was chosen principal, but never assumed the duties of the position, and 
T. J. Cottingham occupied the seminary for a private school for some time 
at a rental of two dollars a month. In May, 1841, VVilliam M. Pratt, F. M. 
Finch, A. R. Hinckley and Henry Bradley were appointed a committee to 
recommend a plan for a suitable building, and the executive committe was in- 
structed to advertise for sealed proposals for its construction, but owing to 
the low state of the college finances, the bids were returned unopened. The 
year 1841 was a particularly gloomy one for the college, and when the Gen- 
eral Association met at Aurora, in the fall of that year, the friends of the 
college were ready to despair. After long and deliberate consultation, which 
lasted nearly all night, the following resolution was adopted : ^Resolved, that 
we who are present solemnly pledge to attend the next meeting of the board, 
except the providence of God prevents, and do all in our power to build up and 
sustain the institution.' 

ic I "This resolution was signed by J. L. Holman, Robert Tisdale, Henry 

^^ I Bradley, A. F. Tilton, J. Currier, George C. Chandler, E. D. Owen, Simon G. 

Minor and William M. Pratt. The board met at Franklin, November 2Sth 
following, and, true to their pledge, almost all who had signed the resolution 
^ere present. Joshua Currier was appointed principal, and William J. Robin- 
f//jj and his sister, Julia, were appointed teachers. School was again opened in 
imber of that year, and while Mr. Currier never accepted the position 
/^f^^:x'ed him, William J. Robinson and his sister were both teachers in the 
'^ ^.-t i tution for the next year and a half, and their work was highly satisfac- 
^(^-t-^^ to the board. At this time young ladies were admitted to all privileges 
of -tine school, and in August, 1842, the board took steps to organize a young 
\a.cJi^s' department and invited Misses Sarah S. and Harriett L. Kingsley to 

*■ Professor Hougham says: "On the 4th day of April, 1838, Professor TUton's sal- 
ary '^as raised to eight hundred dollars, but later the board reduced it to six hundred 
dol^l sugars, and even this was only partially paid. He was requested to act as agent during 
vflkoci.'t.ion to solicit and collect funcU^ to pay his own salary. And in February, 1840, 
0^^ 't^oard appointed a committee to look for a competent teacher who would serve 
toT -tlie tuition fees. Probably, an unwillinsrness to brook the thought of failure im- 
^llo^ Mr. Tilton to accept the terms for ci^ht months. But. October 2, 1840, he re- 
Am»«^. He die<l at the Age of forty, in the home later owned by Dr. P. W. Payne.— 


Digitized by 




take charge of it. They never did so, but Mrs. A. F. Tilton appears to have 
had charge of this department the next year. 

**The records of the trustees concerning the opening of the college under 
the care of this brother and sister are brief, but pointed : 

*'*i. Resolved, that there be but thirty-three weeks of instruction for 
the present year, which shall be considered three- fourths of an academic year. 

** *2. Resolved, that we recommend the teachers to open the schools on the 
second Monday of December, and continue twenty-two weeks: that after one 
week of vacation, the second session begin and continue eleven weeks. 

" *3. Resolved, That for reading, writing, spelling, and the elements of 
arithmetic, geography and grammar, two dollars be charged per quarter. For 
those further advanced in above studies, also natural philosophy, chemistry, 
astronomy, etc., three dollars. Higher branches of mathematics and the 
languages, four dollars. 

" *4. That the three departments be designated as primary, teacher's 
and classical.'* 

"In August, 1842, the board adopted a plan for a brick building, twenty- 
six by thirty-six feet, and two stories high, and it is believed to be substan- 
tially the same plan as the present north college building, except that it was 
afterward made forty-two by eighty-four feet, and three stories high. In 
December, 1842, Prof. A. F. Tilton submitted to the board a plan to raise ten 
thousand dollars endowment. His plan was substantially this: He would be 
one of one hundred men to give one hundred dollars each by the ist day of 
January, 1844: seven thousand dollars of the amount to be used as a perma- 
nent endowment fund, and three thousand dollars to be used in the erection 
of a building. The fly in the ointment in this plan was the reservation of a 
six-years' scholarship by each donor, and the board was thus induced to launch 
various schemes for scholarship endowment, which, in the end, all proved 
financially disastrous to the college. 

"Just about this time may be noted the first donation of books for the 
library. The books were given by Mr. Dow, and the list is as follows : 
Benedict's 'History of the Baptists'; 'Abercrombie on The Intellectual 
Powers' : 'Letters on the Mode and Subjects of Baptism,' by Stephen Chapin ; 
Baldwin on 'Baptism,' and Baldwin's Letters. 

"On April 10, 1843, Prof. Robinson and his sister were compelled to 
leave the institution by reason of the death of their father. The board elected 

♦Upon the authority of Professor Hougham, Principal Robinson and his sister re- 
ceived two hundred dollars each for their first year, and that the principal was re- 
engaged at a salary of three hundred dollars for the year. Miss Julia Robinson did 
not teach In the second year. — Author. 

Digitized by 



the Rev. George C. Chandler principal, and he entered upon his work at once. 
The following summer Prof. William Brand became connected with the 
college, and about a year later Prof. John B. Tisdale was added to the 

"In June, 1843, ^^e board decided to dispose of the eight-acre tract be- 
longing to the college and apply the proceeds at once to the erection of a build- 
ing. Soon after a sale was made to Lewis Hendricks, the consideration being 
two hundred sixty-six thousand bricks to be laid in the wall of the new build- 
ing. A committee was also appointed on the plan of the building; but the 
plan of the North building, as finally adopted, was proposed by Professors 
Chandler and Brand, the third story being afterward changed to accommodate 
the chapel. The North building was therefore planned and its construction 
begun in August, 1843; but the building w^s not completed and ready for 
use until the fall of 1847. After the completion of part of the brick work by 
Lewis Hendricks, what was left to be done was let to Samuel Hall; the 
carpenter work was done by Travis Burnett and A. C. Compton; the roof was 
built by Isaac Garrison, and the plastering was let to a contractor named 

"All the work on the building was done by piece-meal, as the board had 
money and as contractors were willing to wait for their pay. Many were the 
experiences of the board while the work was progressing. On one occasion, 
Samuel Hall, the brick contractor, sued the college on an order, and final 
judgment was averted by the purchase of the order by Lewis Hendricks. 
Deductions on the bill of Travis Burnett for making sash, because the sash 
would not fit: but Mr. Burnett refused to accept the reduction or arbitrate 
the matter, and the board finally paid the whole bill under protest. During 
the whole of the time the North building was in process of erection, the board 
Ify^S iising the trowel or the hammer with one hand, and warding off impatient 
^^ iters with the other. 

* 'Various were the expedients resorjed to in order to procure money. 

^^^roocJs and wares donated to the college were sold either in Franklin or in 

otVier parts of the state. At one time the board consulted the county com- 

Tnisstoners and took legal advice on the subject of peddling clocks donated 

to the college; clock peddling in those days was the essence of evil in the 

*Brand came from the Salem Academy of Washlnjrton County, New York, but little 
^ taiown of Tisdale. He died in this city October 2, 1841. Chandler was called from 
^^ pastorate of the Baptist church at Indianapolis.— Author. 

Digitized by 




eyes of the law.* The cost of the North building (in recent years called the 
Chandler Hall) is nowhere in the records minutely summed up, but as nearly 
as it can be approximated, it was five thousand six hundred dollars. The 
foundation (not the corner stone, for it was made wholly of bricks) was laid 
in the autumn of 1844, and Prof. John Stevens, of Cincinnati, delivered the 
address on that occasion. 

"A regular course of collegiate studies was adopted in the fall of 1844, 
and the next year the institution was rechartered with the name Franklin 
College, instead of Indiana Baptist Manual Labor Institute. The first de- 
gree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred August 4, 1847, upon John W. 
Dame, afterward tutor in the college, and treasurer of the board. The first 
mention of literary societies was July 14, 1847, when the north attic was 
assigned to the Ciceronian Society and the south attic to the Demosthenian 
Society. These societies, if I am rightly informed, were afterwards merged 
into the Union Literary Society, and from this body the present societies — 
the Periclesian and the Webster.** ^ 

"In 1848, Prof. John S. Hougham and Achilles J. Vawter became mem- 
bers of the faculty, and the following year Mr. Vawter, as librarian, reported 
755 volumes in the College Library, of which number 581 had been donated 
during the year. On July 26, 1848, Milton Stapp, who had been made chair- 
man of a committee to investigate the college books, and the manner of keep- 
ing them, reported on the financial condition of the college, and by a forced 
double entry balance, made the following result : 

^'Subscriptions, $982.50; real estate, $9,500; bills receivable, $2,295; 
college furniture, $1,000; total resources. $13,777.50. 


"Scholarship No. i, $2,296.67; scholarship No. 2, $2,720; bills payaWe, 
$2,121.77; orders outstanding, $i,%oo.88; due Milton Stapp for philosophical 
apparatus, $600; total liabilities, $8,999.32. 

"Balance in favor of the college, $4,778.18. 

"President Chandler resigned his position October 5, 1849, and*his in- 
tention of so doing was made known to the board in the following letter : 

" 'Gentlemen of the Board : After mature deliberation, and I trust 
sincere prayer, I have concluded that it is my duty to tender you my resigna- 

♦It was merely the old method of taxation— the collection of license fees from 
merchants, tavern keepers, ferrymen, etc. — Author. 

♦*Tho Perlclesinn Society was orRanized In 1853, and the Webster a few months 
later. — ^Author. 

Digitized by 



tion of the honorable and responsible position of president of your college; 
this resignation to take effect at the close of the present collegiate year. 

'' 'George C. Chandler.^ 

"President Chandler's resignation was, in all probability, due to the 
financial condition of the college*, and a requirement of the board that each 
member of the faculty should do one-third of a year's agency work. His ad- 
ministration was no failure. He found the institution an academy, he left 
it a college. He found it almost without buildings, he left it w^ith a building 
equal, at that time, to most of the college buildings of the state. He left 
it, too, through no fault of his own; overwhelmed with debt, and with few 
resources. President Chandler's labors were not properly appreciated by the 
Baptists of the state, nor did the denomination know, at that time, what it 
cost to make a college. The Baptist Abrahams who had bound Isaac and 
laid him on the altar of higher education were indeed few. Their sacrifices 
and support were largely in the form of resolutions. 

"The two years following President Chandler's resignation were full of 
gloom and despondency for the college. In July, 1850, the debt of the institu- 
tion was $3,281.74, with scarcely a cent in the treasury. Part of this debt 
was in the form of a judgment in favor of the estate of Lewis Hendricks. 
On this judgment an execution had been issued, and the sheriff of Johnson 
county stood ready to levy upon and sell the college property. This disaster 
was happily averted by some friends of the college assuming the payment of 
the judgment. The board recommended as a plan for lifting the debt of the 
college, that each friend of the institution give one hundred dollars toward 
that object and Professor Hougham and the Rev. T. R. Cressy were appointed 
a committee to carry out that plan. After the resignation of President 
Chandler, Professors Hougham, Brand and Dame constituted the teaching 
force of the college, but on July 28, 1852, the board elected Dr. Silas Bailey 
president, and he entered upon his work the next fall. 

"Previous to Dr. Bailey's acceptance of the presidency, various endow- 
ment movements had been set on foot with considerable promise of success, 
but with little else than promise. At one time the board had voted to sell 

♦The record of Chandler's engagement on August 12, 1843, reads: "The committee 
appointed to see Brothers Chandler and Brand would report that they waited upon them 
and obtained the following proposal : Brother Chandler will teach four hours a day for 
two hundred dollars a year; Brother Brand will teach seven hours a day for four hun- 
dred dollars a year; and if the tuition amounts to more, they are to have It, unless 
more teaching should be required. Brethren Chandler and Brand propose to divide 
the duties of teaching between themselves." — Author. 


Digitized by 


1 1' i 




six-year scholarships at thirty dollars — what is now less than the cost of a 
year's tuition in the college. But the proposition was afterward modified. 
How to endow Franklin College without giving anything was a problem 
which weighed heavily upon the heart of the denomination in those days. 

"After Doctor Bailey assumed the presidency the outlook began to be 
more hopeful, so much so that in January, 1853, the board appointed Doctor 
Bailey and Professor Hougham a committee on another building. The com- 
mittee was authorized to borrow sufficient funds to erect a building the same 
size and dimensions as the North building. The money thus borrowed was 
paid out of the endowment fund. The building committee made a final report 
in December, 1855, which is full and complete, and entered upon the records 
of the board. The total cost of the South building, including part of the fur- 
nishing thereof, was about $7,400. 

**The question of establishing a department of agricultural chemistry 
was brought before the board in 1853, and it was proposed to raise for its 
support an endowment of twelve thousand dollars. Some teaching in this 
department was done by Professor Hougham, but for lack of means the 
work was soon abandoned. Doctor Bailey, in addition to his regular work, 
taught classes in theology and at one time was appointed to a chair of 
theology. ^ 

• "In the winter of 1855- 1856 occurred, perhaps, the most serious internal 
trouble the college has ever experienced, the famous snow-ball rebellion. The 
students, having engaged in a snow-ball fight, one party took refuge in one of 
the college buildings, still pelting their outside assailants. The outside party, 
forgetting that college property was between them and the foe, began throw- 
ing through the windows until considerable damage had been done. Some 
attempts were made by the students to repair the damage, but the faculty 
decided to prosecute them for malicious trespass. The boys were convicted 
before a justice of the peace, but on appeal to the common pleas court, they 
were acquitted on the ground that the trespass was without malice, the law 
at that time providing for the punishment of malicious trespass only, instead 
of mischievous and malicious trespass, as at present. In April, 1856, about 
twenty -five students petitioned for the removal of Doctor Bailey, but the 
board, after giving the petition a respected hearing, passed resolutions 
strongly sustaining President Bailey, and recommending the expulsion of 
several students. Milder counsels at last prevailed, and before the next 
college year began, the trouble had healed over. 

"Under Doctor Bailey's administration endowment and scholarship 
pledges continued to increase, but it seemed well nigh impossible to collect 

Digitized by 



the pledges made. For this reason, the board, at its annual meeting in June, 
1858, adopted some stringent instructions to its agents to resort to legal 
process to collect endowment notes. Forgetting the old adage not to look a 
gift horse in the mouth, the board went even further, and when the horse 
was not forthcoming, proceeded to replevin him from the donor. In the main, 
these lawsuits were hiirtful to the best interests of the college, and to this 
day endowment work is hindered in some localities in the state by the re- 
membrance of the former action of the board. 

"At the annual meeting of the board in June, 1859, the Hon. Martin L. 
Pierce and Professor Hougham pledged ten thousand dollars toward the 
endowment of a chair of agricultural chemistry, to be called the Pierce pro- 
fessorship, provided fifty thousand dollars be raised for the further endow- 
ment of the college. The board entered heartily into the undertaking, but 
with small success. One great hindrance to the further prosecution of en- 
dowment work was the agitation of the question of the removal of the col- 
lege. When the Education Society met in connection with the state con- 
vention, in October, 1859, at Terre Haute, the college board was recom- 
mended to adopt vigorous measures to raise a larger endowment from John- 
son county, as a means, of quieting the question of removal. Accordingly, 
D. J. Huston and R. F. Grubbs were appointed to canvass Johnson county 
for endowment, and so well did they do their work that in June, i860, they 
were able to report eleven thousand forty-five dollars subscribed. 

"In December, i860, the lx)ard began a more vigorous canvass of the 
entire state. The Rev. U. B. Miller, of Indianaix)lis, was appointed agent, 
but died before entering upon his work, and the Rev. A. S. Ames was ap- 
pointed in June, 1861, and worked until the following spring. But the ex- 
citement caused by the war of the Rebellion, the consequent unsettled state of 
finance and business, the volunteering into the United States army of ilearly 
all the young men who were students in the college, all tended to discourage 
any progressive endowment work. We, therefore, find a committee of the 
board on the state of the institution, in June, 1862, recommending that the 
old endowment, when collected, shall be used to liquidate the indebtedness of 
the college, leaving only the campus and buildings as a basis of credit. The 
matter of reducing the faculty was also suggested, but the suggestion was 
abandoned for the reason that any considerable reduction of the number of 
the faculty, or retrenchment of expenses could not be made without changing 
the character of the institution. 

"In December, 1862, Doctor Bailey resigned the presidency of tht col- 
lege. Those who knew Doctor Bailey best believe that his resignation was 

Digitized by 










not due to the financial state of the institution, but wholly on account of the 
state of his health. He had repeatedly stated that he intended to stand by 
Franklin College until God called him elsewhere, and when God so touched 
his brain as to impair his health and life by further mental work, he recog- 
nized the call. Doctor Bailey's resignation was indeed a serious loss. He 
had done far more for the college than it had ever done for him. He had 
held on for ten years through evil report and through good report, when 
offers were constantly coming to him of positions far more lucrative and far 
more desirable. 

''During his administration a new building had been erected, a con- 
siderable endowment had been subscribed, though it was as yet in large part 
uncollected, and hundreds of young men had learned to love him for his 
sterling Christian manhood and his abilities as an instructor. A feeling of 
insecurity for the college began to grow after Doctor Bailey's resignation. 
Professor Hougham and James L. Bradley were appointed to secure from 
George King and Harvey McCaslin a release of their supposed reversionary 
titles to the land occupied by the college campus and buildings. The faculty 
consented to teach until the end of the year, if adequate assistance could be 
furnished. The college did continue in operation one year longer than 
expected, until June, 1864, when, for lack of students, more than for any 
other reason (nearly every student having enlisted in the war) the board 
voted that the exercises of the college be suspended until such time as in 
the judgment of the board, it should be deemed proper to resume operations. 

"The teachers during the last year were F. M. Furgason, Jeremiah 
Brumback and Barnett Wallace, with occasional lectures by Professor Houg- 
ham during a part of the year. Professor Furgason resigned in March, 1864, 
but Professors Brumback and Wallace taught until the end. 

"No immediate efforts were made by the board to resume instruction in 
the college, and the executive committee was authorized to lease the college 
buildings and grounds until such time as the board should wish to resume 
control of the institution. Under these instructions a lease was made to Prof. 
F. M. Furgason in November, 1865, which terminated in March, 1867. 
Professor Furgason taught a private school in the college buildings during 
the school year 1865-66. The board, in March, 1865, ordered the return of 
all old endowment notes, and the next year took steps to secure a release and 
cancellation of all old scholarships. 

"In the year 1867 Professors William Hill and J. H. Smith came to 
Franklin from Ladoga, with the intention of reviving the college. They met 
with a hearty co-operation from all the citizens of Franklin, and for the 

Digitized by 



next two years taught a very successful private school in the college build- 

"Little was done in securing an endowment until December, 1867, 
when the board revived the Johnson county professorship plan, and appoint- 
ed Prof. William Brand agent to raise fifteen thousand dollars. The princi- 
pal of this endowment was to be held in trust for the college by the First 
National Bank of Franklin, the interest being paid over to the board. The 
whole fifteen thousand dollars was reported subscribed August 31, 1868, and 
Doctor Wallace and Cas Byfield were appointed to turn over the notes to the 
bank. The board also voted to allow the interest of the Johnson county en- 
dowment to be applied on the salary of Prof. F. W. Brown, who was then 
assisting Professor Hill, provided all paid-up scholarships should be honored. 
Having completed the Johnson county professorship, the board at once took 
steps to raise eighteen thousand dollars to endow what was to be called the 
Indiana professorship. In September, 1869, the board voted to assume full 
control of the college, although the Indiana professorship lacked a great deal 
of completion. 

"Dr. W. T. Stott, Prof. William Hill, Prof. F. W. Brown and Mrs. M. 
A. Fisher were chosen as the faculty, and Perrin H. Sumner was appointed 
agent. Professor Hill, however, did not accept his appointment as professor 
of mathematics, and Prof. J. F. Walter was chosen instead. During the 
summer of 1869 extensive repairs were made on the college buildings at a 
cost of nearly seven thousand dollars, and to meet this expense the board had 
to mortgage the college property. This was the beginning of the end finan- 
cially. A report from Doctor Wallace, treasurer, entered upon the minutes 
of February 2, 1870, shows an excess of liabilities over assets of $5,995.06. 
In fact, the period from 1869 to 1872 may properly be called a period of 
inflated expenditure, when the board seemed to catch the spirit that pre- 
vailed throughout the country. The salaries of the faculty were raised, 
when the board had not the means to pay them. The agent was paid two 
thousand dollars a year, twice as much as any former agent had ever re- 
ceived. The interest on the endowment notes was anticipated by borrowing 
money to meet current expenses. 

"In July, 1869, Dr. H. L. Wayland was elected president of the college 
and entered upon his duties in September following. All friends of the 
college lived in the hope that the Baptists of Indiana would rally to his sup- 
port, but the hope soon proved a delusion. The board kept getting deeper in 
debt to meet current expenses nor was there any very substantial increase in 
endowment, although in November, 1870, Martin L. Pierce, of Lafayette, 

Digitized by 




offered to give land valued at ten thousand dollars, provided enough addi- 
tional subscriptions were made to complete an endowment of one hundred 
thousand dollars. With the finances of the institution in such a state, it 
caused no surprise that the board, at its meeting November 15, 1871, passed 
a resolution 'that unless the endowment can be raised to seventy-five thousand 
dollars, in reliable funds, by June 15, 1872, it is the opinion of the board 
that the college at that time will have to suspend; that the board borrow 
fourteen thousand dollars to liquidate the present indebtedness and meet cur- 
rent expenses for the present year, and that the proper officers of the board 
are hereby ordered to execute a mortgage on the college property to secure 
said loan, provided thirty-five persons will sign a guarantee of such loan/ 

"The endowment did not reach seventy-five thousand dollars, nor did the 
college reach June 15, 1872, before the end came. Doctor Wayland resigned 
January 31, 1872, and the same day the board resolved 'that the college so far 
as teaching is concerned be suspended, and that the executive committee is 
instructed to proceed at once to pay off the debts of the college, by disposing 
of a sufficient amount of the property of the college as may be needed for 
such use. And that the president and secretary of 'the board are hereby 
ordered and authorized to convey the title to all, or any part of the real estate 
belonging to Franklin College, whenever a sale can be effected by the execu- 
tive committee and whenever said committee shall direct.' 

'This was the last act of the old board of directors, and it was the end 
of Franklin College as it was controlled by the Education Society. Many 
friends of the college believed that it had died, and sorrowed as those without 
hope. Other friends lived in the hope of a speedy resurrection, and that 
hope was based upon the organization of the Franklin College Association. 

'The Franklin College Association had its inception with the citizens 
of Franklin, who recognized the benefit the college had been to Johnson 
county and who knew that its death would be an irreparable loss to the com- 
munity where it was located. 

"Prior to the resignation of Doctor Wayland some citizens of Franklin 
and Johnson county had formed an association, and at one time proposed 
to lease the college. After the suspension subscriptions were vigorously 
pushed for the organization of a joint-stock association to take the place of 
the old Education Society. The manner in which the citizens of Johnson 
county responded to the call to subscribe to the stock of Franklin College 
shows how well they had come to know the worth of the institution. The 
result ought forever to set at rest all talk about the college not being appre- 

Digitized by 



ciated by the people among whom it is located. For the third time Johnson 
county came to the rescue. 

*The subscribers to the stock of the college met on June 21, 1872, at the 
Baptist church in Franklin and completed the organization necessary to make 
them a corporation by filing articles of association with the recorder of the 
county. At this date the total subscriptions to the capital stock of the college 
amounted to $51,175. Of this amount nearly $36,000 was subscribed by 
citizens of Johnson county, and of this $36,000 about one-half was sub- 
scribed by citizens of the county who were identified with the Baptist denom- 
ination. As provided by the articles of association, the stockholders elected a 
board of directors, consisting of a president, vice-president, treasurer, secre- 
tary and twelve trustees on the day of its organization. 

"The Franklin College Association assumed the debts of the old or- 
ganization, about $i3;ooo, and by the foreclosure of a mortgage against the 
old board and the purchase of the college grounds at sheriflF's sale, secured a 
title to the campus and buildings. College was resumed in September, 1872, 
with Dr. W. T. Stott, Prof. J. E. Walter and Miss R. J. Thompson as mem- 
bers of the faculty, and it has been in continuous operation ever since." 

The number of students entering Franklin College under the new regime 
in 1872 was but thirty, and the total enrollment for the year was seventy-five. 
Professor Walter had the chair of mathematics, Professor Thompson the 
teaching of history and natural science, and, to quote Doctor Stott himself, 
he "was obliged to teach whate\^er he could not conscientiously ask the other 
two to take. And notwithstanding the hard work done there was manifest 
a feeling akin to loneliness the whole year through. A college yell would 
have startled us beyond measure, but probably done us good.*' Professor 
Walter remained but one year, when he was succeeded by Prof. Rebecca J. 
Thompson, who for the succeeding thirty-eight years was the head of the de- 
partment of mathematics. Her name will be honored as long as Franklin 
College students under her tuition remain among us. Professor Moncrief 
also came in 1873, taking charge of work in the preparatory department, and 
E. S. Hopkins taught Latin and natural science. The enrollment for the year 
was seventy-seven, — a small number, — ^but at the end of the year four were 
graduated, the first graduating class since 1862. The class of 1874 consisted 
of Prudence G. Hougham, Theodosia Parks Hall, Viola Parks Edwards and 
George H. Taylor. 

In 1875 there was but one graduate, Dr. Gaddis H. Elgin, afterwards 
editor of the Indiana Baptist. In 1876 there were no graduates, but this 
experience was never after repeated save for one year, 1882. Be^innin.s: with 

Digitized by 




the year 1885 the student body began to increase rapidly in numbers, the regis- 
tration being as follows: 1885, 196: 1886, 215; 1887, 223; 1888, 218; 
1889, ^59; 1890, 273; 1891, 249; 1892, 255; 1893, 216; 1894, 207; 1895, 
238; 1896, 265: 1897, 259; 1898, 271 ; 1899, 251. 

For the next few years there was a falling off in the attendance, an 
average of less than 200 students, but, in the first year of Doctor Bryan's ad- 
ministration, the enrollment went up to 270, and in the next year to 291. 
The highest figure in attendance was reached in 1907-08, 320, of which num- 
ber 210 were doing regular collegiate work. Doctor Bryan's unexpected 
retirement weakened the influence of the college and since that date the at- 
tendance has been around the 200 mark. 

From the re-opening of the college in 1872 to 1890, the catalogues 
advised that "Rooms in the college are furnished with bedsteads, chairs, 
stove, table and wardrobe frame." These were the days of college pranks, 
when the boys rooming in the North building made sudden midnight forays, 
to the alarm of the citizens of East Franklin and sometimes to the consterna- 
tion of the mischief makers. College spirit found a vent not in organized 
games and carefully staged displays of college exercises, but carefully se- 
lected groups of brawny and brainy youths spent days in planning some 
*^*joke" on the faculty, the townspeople, or another set of students. Rooms in 
the dormitories were despoiled, buckets of water were hung over the doors. 
Uncle George Zoda or other janitor was aroused, the college bell was set 
ringing, movable college property was certain to be misplaced, and a regular 
course in certain tricks and "stimts" was imposed on each new student who 
showed promise of affording entertainment to the old boys. In particular, the 
ministerial student or a "faculty pet" was the mark of the dormitories. Col- 
lege professofs were expected to do detective duty, and Doctor Stott was 
chief executioner. But, withal, there was little harm in the rowdyism and 
laughter-provoking mischief, and the president's manner of handling the 
questions of discipline was admirable. He could inflict punishment in fewer 
words at the chapel exercises or in a heart-to-heart talk than any instructor 
the writer has known, and so strong was his personality and so kindly his 
reproof that the delinquent student, though not always repentant, loved him 
as a man and respected his authority. 

The writer entered Franklin College in September, 1886, to remain as a 
student for six years. In the first year the old North and South buildings 
were the only college structures on the campus, save the woodshed and 
other outbuildings. The buildings were antiquated and much in need of 
repair and fresh paint. The class rooms were poorly lighted and heated, and 

Digitized by 



the overworked janitor could seldom make his rounds. In the North build- 
ing Doctor Stott's class rooms, the music and art rooms were on the first 
floor ; Professor Hall's class room and the boys* dormitories were on the 
second floor ; the chapel, the Periclesian hall and Miss Thompson's room were 
on the third floor ; and the Athenian hall and a "f rat" hall was in the attic. 
In the South building Professor Owen held forth on the first floor; Pro- 
fessors Chaffee and Williams, with Janitor Zoda, occupied the second; and 
on the third were Professor Moncrief's history room and the Webster hall. 
There were no athletic park, no gymnasium, and but the beginnings of a 
library. But students of that day will assert that Stott, Hall, Thompson, 
Chaffee, Owen, Moncrief and Williams made up a faculty team whose effect- 
ive teaching strength has never been surpassed in the history of Franklin 

With the year 1888 began the work of improvement of the college 
property. Stott hall (the central building connecting the old North and 
South buildings) was then begim, but the work progressed slowly, and it was 
not finished until 1895. In 1903 the old buildings were entirely remodeled 
and improved, through the generosity of A. A. Barnes, of Indianapolis, and 
Grafton Johnson, of Greenwood. In 1904 the library building. Shirk hall, 
was completed with funds provided by the Shirk family of Lafayette, to 
whom the college is indebted for many benefactions. The girls* dormitory, 
the gymnasium and the heating plant were completed in 1908, the last-named 
building being erected in large part from funds contributed by Johnson county 
citizens. The dormitory and gymnasium were built fi'om the general funds 
of the college and the action of the board in diverting endowment to this use 
met with much criticism in the state. The action is justified, perhaps, in the 
imperative demand for these improvements and from the fact that the 
**Dorm'' is now yielding an income of about four per cent, on the "invest- 

On September 17, 1907, the old Franklin College Association passed out 
of legal existence, and Franklin College of Indiana was incorporated, suc- 
ceeding to all the property rights of the old joint-stock association. The new 
incorporation was to have a self -perpetuating board of twenty-four direc- 
tors, eight of whom should be elected annually for a three-year term. In 
June, 1908, the college was admitted to the retiring allowance system of the 
Carnegie Foundation, and under this arrangement Prof. F. W. Brown, 
David A. Owen, Rebecca J. Thompson and Columbus H. Hall, and ex- 
Treasurer Barnett Wallace enjoy allowances. In this step. Hon. Robert A. 

Digitized by 



I J: J 






Brown was the prime mover, and was the special representative of the board 
in giving to the college this fortunate opportunity. 

Three financial campaigns ought to be briefly noted. The first under 
the Rev. Norman Car, who became financial secretary in 1883, was an effort 
to secure $50,000 endowment by May i, 1892. In this campaign John D. 
Rockefeller gave $10,000 and the friends of the college $40,000. In the 
"Business Men's Campaign," inaugurated December 20, 1897, ^^^ carried 
to a successful conclusion June i, 1899, $75,000 was added to the endow- 
ment, Mr. Rockefeller's contribution being $15,000. Milton Shirk, of Peru, 
D. M. Parry, of Indianapolis, W. N. Matthews, of Bedford, A. J. Thurston, 
of Shelbyville, and many others contributed largely in this movement. At the 
end of twenty years of earnest effort Rev. N. Carr resigned, his last w^ork 
being the completion of the Greek professorship, endowed with $20,000. The 
place of "financial secretary" is a difficult one to fill, and naturally Mr. Carr's 
methods met some criticism, but no friend of the college cfuestions the unflag- 
ging zeal and persistent effort he put forth for Franklin College for a score 
of years. The recent movement to raise the endowment to the half million 
mark, under the leadership of Dr. Myron N. Haines, was only partially suc- 
cessful. In this campaign, closing July i, 1913, the General Education Board 
pledged $75,000 on condition that the college procure pledges for $325,000, 
but the total sum raised from all sources aggregated about $300,000. The 
financial problems recently confronting the board are not yet worked out, and 
their history must be reserved to a later period. 


Today the Greek-letter fraternity is the controlling factor in college life, 
but in the early history of Franklin College the literary societies furnished 
the means of social intercourse and gave to their members a training in public 
speaking that no class room work can ever give. Especially in the eighties 
and nineties did the literary societies flourish both in numbers and influence. 

The Periclesian Society was founded on January i, 1853, but w2ls 
disorganized in 1861 by its membership leaving the institution as volunteers 
in the g^eat war. Its activities were resumed in 1871, and the ''Beacon" 
again gave forth its light on every Friday evening. Afternoon business meet- 
ings were conducted with scrupulous observance of Roberts' rules of order, 
and most students in its membership became proficient in parliamentary rules 
and skillful in handling debatable questions on the floor or from the chair. 
The evening entertainment was varied with declamations, essays, "medleys," 

Digitized by 



original stories, papers on current events, "eulogies and invectives/' and 
orations, but interest centered chiefly in the debates, which were carefully 
prepared and delivered with much earnestness. All the exercises were care- 
fully "censored," and mistakes in grammar, in delivery and general deport- 
ment were ruthlessly pointed out in the "criticisms" at the close. The social 
half-hour was usually interrupted by the janitor's round promptly at lo 
o'clock with the order of "lights out." 

The constitution of the Periclesian Society is of record in the clerk's 
office (record 5, page i6i) and contains the unique initiation ceremonies of 
the society. It is required that "candidates for admission to ordinary mem- 
bership, after being proposed and having received the unanimous suffrage of 
the society, shall obligate themselves by taking the following oath of allegi- 
ance: 'Mr. B , do you solemnly affirm in the presence of the Almighty 

Creator that you will ever while a member of this social body support the 
spirit of the constitution and laws, and submit to the penalties of the same; 
that you will use every reasonable effort to advance its interests and make it 
a source of pleasure and improvement?' After which he shall sign this con- 
stitution and be presented to the society and welcomed to all her privileges. 
Members shall rise to their feet when a newly initiated member is to l^e pre- 
sented, salute them respectfully, and resume their seat." This constitution 
is signed by E. E. Simpson, J. D. P. Hungate, U. Mullikin, G. W. Clark/ P. 
K. Parr and F. M. Furgason. 

The Webster Society was also organized in 1853 ^^^ ^^^ for eleven years 
exclusively a society for men, as was also the Periclesian. In 1864 it sus- 
pended its meetings, to be revived in 1873 as a ladies' society. In 1877 ^^ 
received a number of men who withdrew from the Periclesians and has con- 
tinued its organization ever since. The rivalry between it and the Periclesian 
Society was quite keen, and new students were "spiked" with great energy 
and ingenuity. In its later years it was known as a "barb" organization for 
the reason that its members were not identified with any Greek-letter "frats." 
College politics was usually divided along the lines of "Greek" and "Barbar- 

The Athenian Society was organized by former members of the Pericles- 
ian Society in 1884 ^ind prospered for a decade, but was compelled to dis- 
band in 1896. The Ofer Gans followed with a brief existence, and the most 
recent organization of the kind was the Linconia, founded in March, 1908. 

Digitized by 






The oldest and most influential of the college fraternities is the Phi 
Delta Theta, founded at Miami University in 1848. Indiana Delta Chapter 
was instituted in Franklin College on April 20, i860, the charter members 
being David D. Banta, William T. Scott, Thomas J. Morgan, George W. 
Grubbs and Casablanca Byfield, all of whom lived to fill places of distinction. 
Among prominent men who have been members oiF the local chapter are Dr. 
Columbus H. Hall and Prof. David A. Owen, long connected with the fac- 
ulty; Congressman William S. Holman and Francis M. Griffith, Gen. T. J. 
Morgan, at one time United States commissioner of Indian affairs; Hon. 
Robert A. Brown, ex-clerk of the supreme court; Prof. C. E. Goodell, of 
Denison University; Rev. Cassius M. Carter, LL. D., now of Los Angeles; 
Prof. J. T. C. Noe, of Kentucky State College; Hon. G. M. Lambertson, of 
Lincoln, Nebraska; Prof. John W. Moncrief, of Chicago University; Alva 
Otis Neal, state high school inspector; Frank Martin, deputy state auditor. 
The Phi Delts now own a fine chapter house at the corner of Madison and 
Jackson, and find the same a real home for the active chapter and a pleasant 
social center for the local and visiting alumni. 

Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded in 1856 at the University of Alabama, 
and Indiana Alpha was installed in Franklin College February 14, 1892. Its 
founders were James M. Berryhill, C. D. Hazelton, J. M. Batterton, J. H. 
Howard, Hugh Miller, Henry W. Davis, F. D. Johnson, John A. Hill and 
Edgar Burton. The chapter has thrived and has filled a worthy place in the 
college life. 

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity was founded at Monmouth College of Illinois 
in 1867, the first organization of college girls under Greek bands. Indiana 
Alpha Chapter was instituted in Franklin College January 16, 1888. Pro- 
fessors Zeppenfeld and Palmer have long been active in support of the local 
chapter; of the other alumni members Emma Harper Turner, former grand 
president of the fraternity, has brought honor to the chapter. 

Alpha Gamma Alpha, a local fraternity, was instituted in Franklin 
College, January 31, 1896, and at once took high rank among the social 
organizations. Its charter members were Mary Payne Beck, Sybil S. Taylor, 
Jessie Upjohn Waldo, Jennie Merrill, Elizabeth Ward and Nellie Miller 
White. This organization became, in September, 1912, a chapter of the 
national sorority. Delta Delta Delta, giving its members a better standing 
and a wider influence. 

Digitized by 



Phi Alpha Pi, a local fraternity, was organized October 30, 1909, and 
has made a good record, especially striving to excel in scholarship, an example 
which has stimulated the other fraternities to do better class work and limit 
somewhat their social activities. 


The following have served as president of the board of directors : Sam- 
uel Harding, 1835-36; John L. Richmond, 1836; Lewis Morgan, 1836-39; 
Jesse L. Holman, 1839-42; Lewis Hendricks, 1842-43; E. D. Owen, 1843-44; 
George C Chandler, 1844-51; John S. Hougham, 1851-53; Silas Bailey, 
1853-59; Judson R. Osgood, 1859-62; A. S. Ames, 1862-63; Isom W. San- 
ders, 1863-68; L N. Clark, 186J8-71; J. S. Boyden, 1871-72; R. W. Pearson, 
1872-74; Grafton Johnson, Sr., 1874-76; James Forsythe, 1876-77; James 
L. Bradley, 1877-1891 ; J. T. Polk, 1891-1898; A. J. Thurston, 1898-1913; 
Grafton Johnson, 1913. 

Of the other officers of the board two deserve especial mention, Dr. 
Barnett Wallace, treasurer of the board from 1867 to 1909, the longest term 
of service of any officer or teacher connected with the school; and Rev. 
Norman Carr, secretary, whose services are elsewhere spoken of. 

The present board of directors consists of the following named : 

Qass I, term expires June, 1914 — Arthur J. Thurston, Shelbyville; 
Will A. Burton, Franklin; Clarke R. Parker, Terre Haute; Arthur Jordan, 
Indianapolis; Louis E. Endsley, Lafayette; Henry C. Barnett, Franklin; 
Nathan M. Jennings, Franklin ; E. L. Branigin, Franklin. 

Class n, term expires June, 191 5 — Greene V. Woollen, Indianapolis; 
Henry Eitel, Indianapolis; Grafton Johnson, Greenwood; W. A. Waldo, Mun- 
cie; Ezra Mattingly, Washington; A. Z. Polhamus, Fort Wayne; William 
A. Guthrie, Dupont : William E. Morris, Cumberland. 

Class III, term expires June, 1916 — ^Albert A. Barnes, Indianapolis; 
plmer E. Stevenson, Indianapolis ; Joseph H. Shirk, Peni ; Joe Moss, Linton ; 
Elmer U. Wood, Columbus ; Henry P. Klyver, Franklin ; M. J. Voris, Frank- 


Rev. George C. Chandler, D. D., 1844-50; Rev. Silas Bailey, D. D., 
1852-62; Rev. H. L. Wayland, D. D., 1870-72; Rev. William T. Stott, D. D., 
1872-1905; Elmer Burritt Bryan, LL. D., 1905-09; Elijah A. Hanley, D. D., 

Digitized by 


I ' 11 





1911. Rev. William T. Stott also served as acting president in 1869-70, 
and Melvin E. Crowell, A. M., as president pro tempore from 1909 to 191 1. 


Albert Freeman Tilton, 1837-40; Rev. A. R. Hinckley, 1837-38: Will- 
iam J. Robinson, 1841-43: Julia Robinson, 1841-43: Mrs. A. F. Tilton, 
1842-43: Rev. George C. Chandler, 1843-44; William Brand, 1843-44. In 
1836 Rev. Byron Lawrence taught a private school for three months in the 
original school building, and in 1841 rooms were rented to Thomas J. Cot- 
tingham to conduct a private school. 


Rev. William Brand, D. D., 1844-55, languages and mathematics: Rev. 
John W. Tisdale, A. M., 1846-47, mathematics: Jonathan Berry, 1847-48, 
mathematics; John S. Hougham, LL. D., 1848-63, mathematics and natural 
philosophy: Mark Bailey, A. M., 1853-58, mathematics; Jeremiah Brumback, 
A. M., 1858-64. mathematics: Rev. William Hill, A. M., 1867-69; Rev. J. H. 
Smith, A. M., 1867-69; Rev. William T. Stott, D. D., 1869-70, natural 
science, 1872-1905, mental and moral philosophy; Rev. Francis W. Brown, 
A. M., 1869-72, languages, 1887-1908, Latin: Rev. J. E. Walter, A. M., 
1869-73, mathematics: Rebecca J. Thompson, A. M., 1873-74, his- 
torv and natural science, 1874-1911, mathematics: Rev. T. R. 
Palmer, D. D., 1875-76; John W. Moncrief, A. M., 1875-79, Greek, 1881-94, 
history: Rev. Columbus H. Hall, D. D.. 1875-76, natural science, 
1876-79, Latin, 1879-1912, Greek, vice-president, 1885-1912; G. E. Bailey, 
Ph. D., 1878-79, science; Arthur B. Chaffee, A. M., 1879-1887, Latin, 
1887-89, chemistry and physics: David A. Owen, A. M., 1881-87. science, 
1887-1909, geology and botany; William J. Williams, A. M., 1885-87, peda- 
gogy; Wellington B. Johnson, A. M., 1889-99, chemistry and physics: Charles 
E. Goodell, A. M., 1894-1900, history; William E. Henry, A. M., 1894-97, 
English; Jeannette Zeppenfeld, M. S., 1895-1914, modern languages: Rev. 
E. S. Gardner. A. M., 1897-05, English: Melvin E. Crowell. A. M., 1899- 
1914, chemistry and physics; Augustus Raymond Hatton, Ph. B., 1900-01, 
history: Arthur P. Bestor, A. M., 1901-04, history: Minnie Bruner, 1900-14, 
music: Charles N. Peak. A. B., 1904-05, history: William H. Allison. Ph. D., 
1905-08, history: Joseph H. Robinson, A. M., 1905-07, English: Arthur 
Train Belknap, A. M., 1907-1914, English: Bertha M. Miller. Ph. B., 1907- 

Digitized by 



08, domestic science; Rowland C Merrill,' A. M., 1908-1914, Latin; Charles 
M. Phillips, A. B., 1908, English Bible: Electa A. Henley, 1908, 
domestic science; Herriott Clare Palmer, A. M., 1908-1914, history; Fred 
W. Clark, B. S., 1909-14, physics and chemistry; John William Adams, B. S., 
1909-January, 191 1, biology; Frederick H. Hodge, A. M., 1910-14, mathe- 
matics; Charles A. Deppe, A. M., 1910-14, biology; Frank Devvitt Simons, 
Ph. D., 1910-11. education; Howard C. Tilton, A. M., 1911-14, education. 


George H. Keith, 1847-48, preparatory department; Achilles J. Vaw- 
ter. A. M., 1848-49, preparatory department; John \V. Davis, A. M., 1848, 
languages and mathematics: Jeremiah Brumback, A. M., 1856-58, mathe- 
matics; Francis M. Furgason, A. M., 1856-64; Barnett Wallace, A. M., 1860- 
64; Rev. Frank J. Martin, A. M., 1863-64; Mrs. M. A. Fisher, 1869-72, 
preparatory department; A. J. Teed, A. M., 1871-72, mathematics; John W. 
Moncrief, A. M., 1872-75, languages; E. S. Hopkins, A. M., 1873-74; Mrs. 
Theodosia Parks Hall, M. S., 1874-75, Latin and English: David A. Owen, 
A. M., 1879-1881, geology and chemistry; Arthur B. Chaffee, A. M., 1884- 
87, analytical chemistry; John W. Moncrief, A. M., 1884-87, German and 
French; James M. Dungan, 1887-80. 1881-1896, music; James D. Bruner, 
A. M., 1887-89, modern languages; Lucia M. Wyant, 1887-89, elocution; 
Myrtle Burdick, 188S-89, pedagogy; Charles E. Goodell, A. M., 1889-90, 
modern languages; Rev. Eugene S. Gardiner, 1890-92, modem languages; 
Jeannette Zeppenfeld, A. M., 1890-1895, modern languages: Henry E. 
Coblentz, A. B., 1894-95, English; Augustus R. Hatton, A. M., 1898-99, his- 
tory; Bertha M. Miller, A. B., 1906-07, domestic science; James R. Ormsby, 
A. B., 1906-07, oratory; E. A. Spauding, A. B., 1909-10, biology; Paul Van 
Riper, A. M., 1911-14, education; Mar\- W. Cross, A. M., 1912-13, English. 


Mrs. M. L. Wagner Debolt, 1867-69; Mrs. M. M. McPherson, 1869-72; 
Mrs. Arabella R. Stott, 1872-1898; Binnie Ream Goode, 1908-10. 


Minnie Bruner, 1894-1901 ; Clarke R. Parker, 1897-01 ; Alice F. Evans, 
1901-02; Jessie D. Lewis, 1902-08, 1910-14; Bertha Dakin Smith, 1908-1910. 


John L. Goheen, 1909-10; Byron S. Whitney, 1910-12; John M. Thuf- 
ber, I9I2-I4, 

Digitized by 







In the early history of the Christian church of Johnson county many 
efforts were made to unify the services, and because of the scattered popula- 
tion many communities united in the worship of God in the district school 
houses. The early statutes had made provision for the erection of school 
houses and provided that all inhabitants should be free to use the same for 
purposes of religious worship, for meetings of Masonic lodges and for the 
holding of schools, and for the first ten or fifteen years of the county's 
history nearly every community held its religious worship in its local log 
cabin school house. 

After the court house was built in the city of Franklin it became for 
many years the meeting house of the various religious bodies and not until 
the erection of the Presbyterian church in that city was any denomination 
provided with) a separate house of worship. Nor only did the state and county 
make such provision for the holding of religious services of all creeds, but 
several public-spirited citizens of the county donated lands and the neighbors 
erected buildings thereon for the holding of religious services by the members 
of the different creeds, and in the beginning many of these meetings held in 
these log houses were visited by intinerant preachers who were obliged to 
hold their services, if their visit was timed on a week day, at the noon hour 
when school was not in session. In other communities, particular religious 
bodies were recognized, as for example, the site now occupied by the Hurri- 
cane Baptist church was conveyed by Samuel Overstreet as trustee for the 
Methodists, to Stephen Tilson, as trustee for the regular Baptists, and to 
Andrew McCaslin as trustee for the United Brethren, and it is fairly certain 
that all these denominations met for worship in the same house. 

The first Sunday school in the county was a union Sunday school organ- 
ized by the members of the Presbyterian and Baptist churches in the year 
1826. Samuel Herriott, then the clerk of said county and the most prominent 
citizen of the village, was chosen superintendent, but Mr. Herriott declined 
to act, stating that he was not a praying man and that someone should be 
chosen who would be able to open the school with prayer. Wassen McCaslin, 

Digitized by 



a Presb)rterian, was made superintendent and Williain Robinson, a Methodist, 
was his co-superintendent. This Sunday school was held in the second story 
of the old log court house and prospered until about the year 1832. At that 
time the Presbyterian leader of the school insisted that the catechism of his 
church should be taught in the Sunday school, but other members of the 
school, we should imagine the Baptists, insisted that only the Bible should 
be the subject of study, and this led to a division and the Presbyterians 
started a Simday school of their own. 

What we have said would indicate a very happy spirit of common fellow- 
ship between the different faiths, but the road was not always smooth. It 
was remembered by Simon Covert, of Hopewell, that when the first Sunday 
school celebration of the county was held in the town of Franklin, on the 
Fourth of July, 1828, a parade was had and after the Sunday school scholars 
marched down Jefferson street in procession to the court house and a hymn 
was sung, no one was present who could preach a sermon or deliver an ad- 
dress. It being learned that the Rev. James Havens, a pioneer Methodist 
preacher, was at the hotel then run by John Smiley, where the Franklin Na- 
tional Bank is now located, Mr. Covert was deputized to wait upon the preach- 
er and ask him to come over and address this union Sunday school. Mr. 
Havens curtly replied, "No, I fear that the Presbyterians will be greatly in the 
way in my work in this region/' and the Sunday school celebration was 
obliged to disperse without the services of a preacher for the occasion. 

It is a matter of some doubt as to just what faith was first represented 
by preaching in Johnson county. John P. Bamett, who came to the county 
in 182 1, was a Baptist preacher, and in 1823 a Baptist church was planted in 
Blue River township. Early in the history of Nineveh township a Baptist 
church under the preaching of Mordecai Cole was organized at the house of 
Daniel Musselman, and when Richardson Hensley, after whom Hensley 
township took its name, moved to the neighborhood of Indian creek, a 
Baptist church was planted in that neighborhood. In 1823 the Rev. James 
Scott, an itinerant minister, unlearned in the books, but of unbounded zeal, 
came on horseback to the White River country and began his ministry there. 
His first sermon was preached from the door of a cabin built near the bluffs 
of White river, the women of his congregation seated within and the men 
lounging upon the earth or leaning against trees without. The first sermon 
preached in Union township was at the house of Peter Vandivier in 1827 by 
Elder William Irving, and in 1831 Elder James Ashley preached at the Utter- 


Digitized by 






back neighborhood and in the following year a Baptist church was organized 
in that neighborhood. The first Presbyterian church in Union township was 
organized at the Shiloh church by James Young, Jacob Banta and Cyril 

It has often been said that the first sermon preached in the town of 
Franklin was at the home of David W. McCaslin in the month of December, 

1823, but from a letter written by Rev. James H. Johnston and read at the 
semi-centennial celebration of the Presbyterian church at Franklin it is cer- 
tain that the first religious servkes were held in the last week of December, 

1824. The Rev. Mr. Johnston says: 

**The first time I passed through Franklin was in the last week of 
December, 1824. I reached Madison, in Jefferson county, on the 9th day of 
that month. I preached on the first Sabbath that I spent in this state some 
thirteen miles north of Madison, preached the next Sabbath at Madison, then 
started for the interior of the state in a direct course to Indianapolis. I 
reached James Young's, at the forks of Sugar creek and Young's creek, 
early Friday evening or early enough on Saturday to have word circulated 
for preaching at his house on the Sabbath and sent an appointment to Frank- 
lin for preaching there on Sabbath evening." 

The first sermon preached in Pleasant township, according to the Rev. 
Isaac Read, was delivered by the Rev. George Bush at the house of J. B. 
Smock. To understand the condition of the religious life of that early day 
it is necessary to take into account not only the physical conditions of living, 
but the moral and spiritual relations of the people. When the first church 
was built in the coiinty there were not to exceed one hundred voters within 
the boundaries of the county. Not a single inhabitant was to be found in the 
township of Hensley and Union, but one man lived in Clark, perhaps a half 
dozen in Pleasant, not to exceed thirty voters in the White River country, 
thirty or forty voters in the neighborhood of Edinburg and a few families in 
Nineveh. The settlers were all very poor, without money, and had settled in 
a wilderness which required all their courage and energy to conquer. The 
moral conditions were not of the best. While the majority of the pioneer 
settlers were from good families of Kentucky and came here to establish 
permanent homes, there was a considerable element of the rough and vicious 
class which is ever found in frontier life. The spirit of the times was not 
favorable to the reception of the Christian doctrines. As is pointed out in 
another connection, the spirit of turbulence and disorder was rife, neighbor- 
hood quarrels and affrays were matters of every-day occurrence, and it was 

Digitized by 



difficult to form any organization strong enough to resist the inclination of 
each settler to enjoy the unbounded freedom inspired by his life in the woods. 

Naturally the first church buildings were erected in the towns, but it was 
not long until in every community effort was made to obtain real estate and 
erect church buildings. It may be profitable to inquire at what time these 
various churches acquired their^ real estate, for by this we may judge when 
real church organization became effective for work in the communities. The 
first Methodist church building mentioned in our records was erected on 
ground conveyed by John S. Barger of lands in White River township on 
August II, 1831. On March 2, 1832, the Hurricane Methodist church ac- 
quired one acre of land from Isom Blankenship; Friendship Methodist church 
in Hensley township, was erected on land given by Alexander Stephens on 
August ID, 1833 ; ground for a Methodist church was also acquired in section 
18 in Nineveh township on August 22, 1836, but the later history of this last 
named. church is not known. 

The earliest Baptist church planted in the county in the country districts 
was the Blue River Baptist church in the southeast corner of the east half of 
the northeast quarter of section 10, in Blue River township on February 3, 
1826. This church became the parent church of the Franklin Baptist church. 
Not long after the organization of the Blue River Baptist church, another 
Baptist church was organized and a church house built on the county road 
leading from Edinburg to Smiley's Mill, at that time called by the name of 
Mount Lebanon. Both of these Baptist churches soon passed out of exist- 
ence. In 1837 the south Stott's Creek Regular Baptist church procured a site 
of Thomas Sturgeon at the southwest corner of section i in Hensley town- 
ship, just west of Trafalgar. The oldest country Baptist church in the county 
which yet maintains its organization is the Mount Pleasant Baptist church, 
which acquires its property in the northwest corner of section 29, in what was 
then Union township, but is now a part of Franklin township. The Bethel 
Regular Baptist church was given a one-acre tract of ground in the southwest 
corner of the northwest quarter of section ii, in l^nion township, by Zeleck 
McOuinn on the 25th of May, 1839. Just when this organization changed to 
the "Hardsheir* branch of the church, the writer is not informed. In the 
same year the Second Mount Pleasant Regular Baptist church acquired its 
present site in Needham township by donations from John Webb and Jesse 
Beard. . A Predestinarian Baptist church at Providence became the owner of 
Its site on the 3d of June. 184T. Lick Spring Baptist church acquired its 
present grounds on May i. 1843; Bethlehem Baptist church in Hensley town- 

Digitized by 




ship and the Amity Baptist church both acquired lands in the year 1858. A 
Baptist church in White River township about a half mile north of Browns- 
town was also organized at an early day, but its more recent history is not 

The United Brethren church acquired sites to their properties in White 
River township early in the forties. 

The first Catholic church lands were acquired by the Edinburg church in 


The history of the Presbyterian church in Franklin dates from the 20th 
day of November, 1824, at which time George and Eleanor King, Joseph and 
Nancy Young and David McCaslin signed articles of agreement and consti- 
tuting themselves a church organization and proceeded to elect George King 
and David McCaslin elders. From the record it appears that the sermon of 
the day w^as preached by the Rev. John M. Dickey, assisted by the Rev. George 
Bush. The latter was a Princeton man and afterward became prominent as 
a teacher of oriental languages in the University of New York. The first 
convert to the new- church was Jane McCaslin, wife of the elder, and on the 
25th of June of the following year Simon Covert and his wife, Mary, were re- 
ceived on letter from their Kentucky church. At the same time their infant 
daughter, Dorothy Ann, was baptized and this was the first celebration of this 
ordinance occurring within the county. For the first few years the growth 
of the church was very slow, only three were added in 1825, only seven in 
1827 and four in 1828, and of all these only four upon confession of faith. 
The first revival in the church was held in 1829, and in this year twenty-one 
were added to the church roll upon examination. The church then prospered, 
although there seems to have been neither ])astor nor stated place of worship. 
Sometimes the meetings were held at Hopewell ; sometimes the members met 
at the homes of the members, occasionally in the open woods, but oftener in 
the old log court house. The congregation was ministered to by missionaries, 
among them the Rev. Isaac Reed, then living at Bloomington ; the Rev. Will- 
iam Duncan, a Scotch divine and a preacher of long, doctrinal sermons. It 
is remembered of him that he was very fond of tobacco and ahvays preached 
with a quid in his mouth and the younger members of the congregation kept 
count of the number of chews taken in an effort to approximate the end of 
the sermon. It is also said of him that he was not averse to the use of liquor, 
justifying himself in the language of Paul to Timothy where he says : *'Kver\' 

Digitized by 


creature of 


from the sou 

Hill, who als 

man and, wh 

The rea 

Rev. David ] 

story of this 

of work in I 

pioneer prea( 

and two yon 

Digitized by 









Stiles' Tavern, now Stilesville. Accommodations were very poor and from 
the exposure consequent, my mother caught a severe cold which caused her 
death within a year. We were well supplied with meat at Stiles' from a pigeon 
roost, where great numbers could be captured at night with torches. Passing 
on from Stiles' through the almost uninhabited forest, we arrived at Otter 
Creek prairie on Saturday evening of the second week and remained there 
until Monday morning, and on the next day came to Terre Haute, then a vil- 
lage of about six hundred inhabitants." 

The Presbyterian meeting house in Franklin was erected on grounds 
acquired by Thomas Graham, Newton McCaslin and Hezekiah McKinney on 
the 30th day of July, 1831. At about this same time forty members of 
Franklin church were dismissed to the church of Hopewell. Some of the 
records under Dr. Monfort's ministry point to the peculiar customs of the 
religious exercises of the time. The custom observed in celebrating the Lord's 
Supper differed materially from the custom at the present. Long tables were 
prepared in the aisles of the meeting house, covered with snow white cloths 
and the communicants, each of whom had been presented by the officers of the 
church with a "token," usually a piece of lead resembling in shape and size a 
silver dime, as a sign of his or her right to eat the supper, took their seats at 
this table of the Lord and after presenting their '^tokens," partook of the 
sacramental feast. The records of the time also show the election of singing 
clerks. The singing clerk was a man of much more coqsequence in those days 
than even the leader of the choir in our modern churches. He occupied a 
seat in front of the high, old-fashioned pulpit, and it was his duty not only 
to pitch the tunes, but to line out each hymn as it was sung. Hymn books 
were not plentiful, perhaps many of the worshippers could not have read them 
if they had had them, and a singing clerk was as much needed as a preacher. 

During the early part of Pastor Monfort's ministry he preached at Hope- 
well also and it was not until 1838 that the Franklin church was enabled to 
sup])ort a pastor on full time and even then the utmost the church could do 
was to raise five hundred dollars for the pastor's salary and appeal to the state 
board of missions for help in raising that amount. Tn the year 1834 a school 
house was built on the rear of the lot adjoining the present church, and in this 
school house the congregation worshiped until a frame church was built on 
the corner in 1837. It was built by Peter Shuck at a cost of eight hundred 
and sixteen dollars, not including the seats in the pulpit, and being the first 
church edifice in the town. It was regarded as a ver}^ pretentious structure. 

Dr. Monfort continued his ministry in the Franklin church until 1850 

Digitized by 



and up to that time the church numbered one hundred and forty-three mem- 
bers. It had been somewhat weakened by discord and dissension and had 
fewer communicants than some fifteen years prior thereto. It is remembered 
by some of the older citizens of the town that the pastor's wife kept a private 
school in this church as a means of supplementing her husband's small 
salary. The Rev. James A. McKee, then preaching at Vernon, was called to 
the Franklin church in 1850 at a salary of seven hundred dollars per year. 
Dr. McKee was a Pennsylvanian by birth, but had been educated in the school 
and theological seminary then located at Hanover. In the beginning Dr. 
McKee's work was very successful, but after a few years dissension and dis- 
cord again arose and in 1855 not a single addition was made to the church 
and the same thing occurred in 1857, but in the latter part of McKee's pastor- 
ate, peace again having reunited the membership, many additions were made 
to the church. In i860 Dr. McKee resigned and was succeeded by the Rev. 
A. B. Morey. Mr. Morey was a native of New York and an alumnus of 
Princeton. Dr. Morey was a very successful pastor, three hundred and 
seventy- four being added to the membership during his pastorate. Dr. Morey 
was succeeded by the Rev. S. E. Wishard in 1871. Dr. Wishard was a native, 
of Johnson county, an alumnus of Wabash College and of Lane Seminary. 
Dr. Wishard was succeeded in the year 1877 by the Rev. William Torrence,. 
a very able divine whose pastorate continued nine years and he in turn was 
succeeded by the Rev. Ernest McMillan in the year 1886. Rev. McMillan 
resigned about the first of the year 1889, and on April 3r(l of that year, Rev. 
Leon P. Marshall, of the Peru church, was called. He was installed May 
21, 1889, and began a long and successful pastorate. For a full score of years, 
he served his congregation faithfully, and his name is yet a household word 
in this community. 

In 1909, Dr. B. W. Tyler was called from a chair in Hanover College, to 
the Franklin church, and worthily fills the place distinguished by his pred- 
ecessors. This church has had but seven pastors in eighty-nine years — an 
altogether remarkable record in this community. Its membership now 
numbers 562. 


On the 1 8th day of December, 1864, the Rev. P. S. Cleland, of Green- 
wood, preached a sermon in the Presbyterian church of that town, that day 
being celebrated as the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ministry to that church. 
The sermon is replete with facts and incidents relating to the early history 
of that community, and vividly portrays the experiences of the faithful pastor 

Digitized by 






and his small flock under the trying conditions of the time. The author has 
been fortunate enough to secure a copy of that sermon, and thinks it worthy 
a place in this history. 

A quarter-century discourse, delivered at Greenwood, Indiana, December 
18, 1864, at the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ministry to the Presb3rterian 
church in that place, by the Rev. P. S. Cleland : 

I Sam. vii :i2 — Then Samuel took a hand and set it between Mizpah and 
Shen and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying: "Hitherto hath the Lord 
helped us." 

Psalms Ixxx :8 — Thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. 

I Cor. ii:i — And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with ex- 
cellency of speech.' or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 

I Thess. ii:i9 — For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? 
Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 

Events of interest and importance are usually commemorated by signifi- 
cant ceremonies and memorials. 

When the Israelites had passed over Jordan, "the I^rd spake unto 
Joshua, saying: Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tri])e a 
man, and command ye them, saying, take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, 
out of the place where the Priest's feet stood firm, twelve stones; and ye shall 
carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place where ye shall 
lodge this night. 

"That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their 
fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye 
shall answer them, that the waters of Jordan were cut ofl^ before the ark of 
the covenant of the Lord ; when it passed over Jordan the waters of Jordan 
were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of 
Israel forever.'' 

In subsequent times, when the Lord wrought a great deliverance of the 
people of Israel from a long and grevious oppression by the Philistines, Samuel 
took a stone, and set it up, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, "Hither- 
to hath the Lord helped us." 

The occasion which we have assembled to commemorate, though it is of 
no importance to the outside world at large, has interest and importance to 
us sufficient to warrant a passing notice. This is an era in our history. As 
pastor and flock, we meet to celebrate our silver wedding. Twenty-five years 
ago, the relation of minister and people was instituted between us, and it has 
continued in uninterrupted harmony to the present time It becomes iis to 

Digitized by 



meet to-day and set up our Ebenezer, for we can say, as did Israel of old, 
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us/' 

What shall be our Ebenezer? The best and most appropriate offering 
we can render to God is the sacrifice of an humble, grateful heart. The most 
suitable memorial that I can offer for those who may come after us is, to place 
on record a sketch of the history of this church, especially of that portion of 
it with which I have been identified.. 


The original name of this church was Greenfield. According to the testi- 
mony of Rev. Isaac Reed, **the name Greenfield was given in July, 1825, by 
mutual agreeement between those immediately concerned, to the settlement 
along both sides of the State road leading from Franklin to Indianapolis. It 
embraces a tract along the north part of Johnson and the south part of Marion 
counties, near the said road. The name was chosen, and designed to be the 
name of a church, a school and a post office.. All these were future and 
prospective. It was fixed upon by James Smock, Isaac Smock, John B, 
Smock, and the Rev. Isaac Reed, who, the preceding day. had entered into a 
plan for founding and rearing up such society and school." 

,The first land in this settlement, thus defined, was purchased by Jacob 
Smock, in May, 1822, and the first land cleared, and the first cabin raised. 
was by him in the summer of 1823. "The first families of the settlement 
were Isaac Smock\s, John B. Smock's, and Jacob Smock's, from Mercer 
county, Kentucky. They all arrived the same day, which was the last day of 
September, 1823." These were "in advance of all others.*' Jacob Smock 
settled on the farm immediately north of the village of Southport. The first 
lands opened, and cabins built, in this immediate locality, were by Isaac Smock 
and John B. Smock, in the fall of 1823. The former located on the farm 
immediately south of the village of Greenwood: the latter on the farm now 
owned by A. C. Woods. 

These, pioneer families were soon followed by those of James Smock, 
Henry Smock, Samuel Brewer, and others, so that in the course of three or 
four years, a large number of families found a home in the new settlement. 

It is the testimony of Rev. Isaac Reed, and others, that "the first sermon 
preached in the settlement was by the Rev. George Bush, at the house of 
J. B. Smock." The precise date of that sermon is not given, but it was in 
the month of December, 1824. About the same time. Rev. James H. John- 
ston passed through the settlement and preached. About the middle of De- 

Digitized by 







cember, 1824, he started from Madison on a tour, through what was then 
called the "New Purchase/' He preached at various points on the way, and 
on the third Sabbath, in that month — ^just forty years ago — ^he preached at 
Mr. Young's, on Sugar creek, in the morning, and at Franklin in the even- 
ing. "On Monday," he says, "I rode to what was then called Smock's set- 
tlement, where Greenwood now is, and preached at Mr. James Smock's in 
the evening, to a company that seemed highly gratified in enjoying the oppor- 
timity of hearing Presbyterian preaching." 

This church was organized December 31, 1825, at the house of John B. 
Smock — ^two years and three months from the day of the arrival of the first 
families. It was organized by the Rev. Isaac Reed, and consisted of nine 
members, viz: James Smock, Charity Smock, Garrett Brewer, Isaac Smock, 
Rachel Smock, Mary Smock, Henry Smock, John B. Smock, and Mary 
Smock (wife of Jacob Smock). The first six of these persons united in the 
organization on certificate, and the last three on examination.' 

On the same day, James Smock and Garret Brewer were elected and or- 
dained to the office of ruling elder. 

Of the original number, none of them are now members of this church, 
and but two of them are among the living — ^venerable in years, and awaiting 
the summons to join those who have gone before, as we trust, to the church 
of the First-bom in heaven. These two are Isaac Smock, of Kansas, and 
Mary Smock (wife of Jacob Smock), of Iowa. The first communion of the 
newly formed church was held on the day succeeding the organization, Jan- 
uary I, 1826. The sermon on the occasion was preached by Rev. Isaac Reed, 
from I Cor. 3:11 : "For other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which 
is Jesus Christ." This sermon was subsequently published, and is entitled, 
"The Foundation Stone." It was dedicated to my father by the author, for 
reasons which are given in the dedication, which is as follows : 

"To the Rev. Thomas Cleland, D. D. : 

"Every member, sir, of the Greenfield church has come from your 
bounds, and been a worshipper in one or the other of your congregations. 
This fact, together with my long acquaintance with and friendship for you, 
as a man, a Christian, and a gospel minister, and your pen having so often 
and so ably moved in defense of that fundamental doctrine, which is the sub- 
ject of the sermon, is my apology for using your name in this dedication. 
"Cottage of Peace, February 3, 1826." "Isaac Reed." 

Digitized by 



In the concluding part of the sermon the preacher addressed the congre- 
gation in the following strain : 

"This, brethren and friends of the Greenfield society, is a peculiar day. 
It marks a new event to us. And I hope, expect and believe, that the memory 
of this day will be blessed. We, I trust, shall cherish the remembrance of it 
whilst we live, and I expect it will be dear to our children, and to our chil- 
dren's children. We now first assemble under a new church name. A new 
society has arisen. May it live forever. God, in whose hands our times are, 
and whose are all our ways, in His providence hath severed us from our 
brethren, our churches, and our ministers, in yon land of our fathers' sepul- 
chres, and hath set us down here. But this day is witness, and we ourselves 
are witnesses, that Jehovah's ways to us are full of mercy. For the church 
of Harrodsburg and Providence, behold! He gives us a church in Green- 
field. Scarcely is the wild man gone, scarcely is the wild beast fled, and the 
banner of the Lord is set up." 

Thus truly was this vine planted in the wilderness. God cast out the 
heathen and planted it, for the remnant of Indian tribes were still in the 
country, when the first emigrants arrived, and for some time afterward. 

How far the hopes and faith of the venerable founder of the church 
have been realized, will, in some degree, appear in the sequel of this discourse. 

On the 4th day of January, 1826, "the school society was formed, and 
trustees chosen, to receive a title and hold in trust, for the congregation, a 
right to a piece of land for a meeting-house, school house, burying ground, 
etc., donated to the congregation by Garret Brewer and Isaac Reed." 

The first grave dug in this lot, and the first funeral in the settlement, 
was that of William H. Kintner, who was killed about half a mile south of 
the village, on September 21, 1827, by the falling of a tree, which was struck 
by a wheel of the wagon that he was driving. 

The first marriage in the settlement was that of Ephraim Robinson and 
Elizabeth Alexander. 

The first school in the settlement was taught by Mrs. Elizabeth Falls, 
daughter of Rev. Mr. Duncan. 


The church, for a time, had no local habitation, the congregation wor- 
shiping in private houses. During the year 1826 a hewed log house, 16x20 
feet, was erected on the lot already spoken of, for the double purpose of a 

Digitized by 






school house and a place of public worship. No record was made of the 
time when the church took possession of their new sanctuary. 

Though humble and rude in its structure and appearance, it was indeed 
the house of God, and of this man and that it may be said, he was born there. 
It was occupied as a house of worship until it became too small for the multi- 
tudes that assembled in it. It at length gave place to a more commodious 
structure. In 1836 it was taken down and removed a few rods, to the west 
side of the road, and has ever since been occupied as a dwelling. It remains 
to this dav. a relic of earlv times. 


In the autumn of 1832, the frame of a second house of worship, forty 
feet wide by fifty feet long, was erected. The roof was put on, and twenty 
feet on the east end of the building was enclosed and finished for the use of 
the school and as a i)lace of worship. The other part of the house was com- 
pleted, gradually, in the course of several years. The pulpit was built in 
1839, and the seats put in in 1840. The house was divided into two apart- 
ments by a swinging partition, by means of which the whole building, as oc- 
casion required, could be converted into one large room. The house was 
built chiefly by the personal labors of the congregation. The people had a 
mind to work. Of silver and gold they had but little, hut all the money thai 
was expended was for such work and material as could not be supplied by 
the people themselves. The estimated value of the building was about one 
thousand two hundred dollars, of which not more than a third was paid in 

The building, though unpretentious in appearance and style, was the 
abode of the King of Glory. It was often filled with His presence. In it 
He often manifested His power in the awakening and conversion of sinners, 
and in building up His saints in the faith and order of the gospel. It was 
occupied for twenty years as a sanctuary of God, and until the congregation 
took possession of their present house of worship. 


Although it is anticipating the order of events, I will here dispose of 
what I have to say in regard to the topic of houses of worship. The old 
church being in need of much repairing, and the center of population having 
changed by the springing up of a village some half a mile south of it, the 

Digitized by 



congregation, early in the year 1852, took into consideration the propriety 
of erecting a new sanctuary. The conclusion was to build in the village, and 
this lot was selected as the site. Preparations for building were at once be- 
gun, and the work of erecting the house, forty by sixty feet, was commenced 
in the ensuing spring, and pushed on to completion, under the superintend- 
ence of Isaac Smock, John R. Smock and W. H. Wisharcl, as a building 
committee, at a cost of about two thousand five hundred dollars. 

The house was solemnly consecrated to the worship of the one living 
and true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, on September 17, 
1853. The services of the occasion were as follows: Invocation and reading, 
select passages of Scripture, by the pastor. Prayer by Rev. Henry Little, 
of Madison. Sermon by Rev. Geo. M. Maxwell, then of Indianapolis, from 
1st Tim. 3:15. Prayer of dedication by the pastor. On the 13th of October, 
following, the synod of Indiana met in this house in annual session. Rev. 
Ransom Hawley, moderator. 


The church, as already stated, was organized with nine members. No 
additions were made to the little flock for more than two years. The vine, 
in the meantime, was taking root, and it now began to grow and bring forth 
fruit. Additions began to be made, both by certificate and examination. 
These additions were frequent and sometimes in large numbers, so that dur- 
ing the first fourteen years after the organization of the church, to the time 
when I took charge of it, the number of members that had been received was 
208, viz: On examination, 119, and on certificate, 89. When I came to the 
church there were 114 names on the roll of the church, so far as could be 
ascertained from the imperfect state of the records ; consequently, up to that 
time, 84 members had been dismissed or had died. Of the 114 members, 
when I came, only 18 are in communion now. The whole number of mem- 
bers received since I began my labors in this church is 223 ; viz : On exam- 
ination, 155; on certificate, 68; making the whole number of members, since 
the organization of the church, 431, viz: On examination, 274; on certificate, 


The number of deaths since January i, 1840, ofniembcrs of the 

church, is 55: of dismissals, 147: of suspensions, 26. The whole nunil)cr of 
members, at this time, 13 108. 

Of the 114 who were members of the church when I took charge of it, 

Digitized by 






j i 



about one-half are dead, making a total since the organization of the church. 
of more than 100 communicants who have gone to the eternal world. The 
greatest number of members received in one year, is 48, viz: on examination, 
28; on certificate, 20. This was in the year 1830, during the ministry of Rev. 
W. W. Woods. The next largest number admitted in one year is 32, viz: 
on examination, 28 ; on certificate, 4. 

There have been but four years, since the organization of the church, in 
which no additions were made to it, viz: 1826, 1827, 1835, and 1848. The 
average number admitted to the church during each of the twenty-five years 
of my ministry, is a small fraction less than nine ; of this number, a fraction 
over six were received on examination. 

An analysis of these statistics suggests some interesting and useful re- 

I. Notice the coincidence between the number of members in the church 
twenty-five years ago, and the number belonging to it now — nearly the same. 
The church is numerically no stronger now than it was then. Our loss by 
dismission, suspension and death has exceeded the additions. Still there has 
been growth. As has been stated, 223 persons have been added to it during 
this period. If, therefore, there has been no diminution of our members, the 
church would have had on her rolls, today, nearly 350 members. Where are 
they? Some of them have gone to their final account, and of these, many 
we have reason to believe, have gone "to the General Assembly and Church 
of the first-born, which are written in heaven." The greater part of them 
are scattered in various parts of the country, many of them being useful mem- 
bers of other branches of'the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and others have 
gone back to the world. 

This large depletion of our numbers, by removal, is a proof of the unset- 
tled state of our western population, and suggests one great difficulty in build- 
ing up large and stable churches in the west. Our population is fluctuating. 
Every man is ready to sell when he can get his price, and seek his fortune in 
other parts of the country, chiefly with the hope of improving his temporal 
condition, and in so doing, some pitch their tents toward Sodom. Thus the 
churches are weakened and often become extinct. But amidst all these 
changes, it is a great relief to know that in the orderings of the great Head 
of the Church, these scattered sheep are gathered into other folds, or become 
centers around which other churches are gathered. 

2. We are reminded that the church lives though her members die. The 
good man is immortal till his work is done. Likewise the church is inde- 

Digitized by 



structible till her redemption is complete. This branch of Zion was planted 
nearly forty years ago, and though many of its members sleep in the grave, 
and many more have gone out from us to other portions of the great* vine^ 
yard, it still survives, and when all the present members are gone, we believe 
it will live, a blessing to successive generations, and a light to the world. 

3. While there is abundant reason for gratitude to God for His favor 
shown to this church, there is still greater reason for humiliation before Him. 
While we rejoice in all the good that has been accomplished, how much more 
might have been done if there had been more faith and zeal on the part of its 
ministers and members. While many have been hopefully bom again, and 
trained for heaven, how many have lived and died without hope, and how 
many are still living among us impenitent and without God in the world ? 

It IS proper, in closing this review of these statistics, to remark that at 
no time has the church enjoyed much more than one-half of the time and la- 
bors of its ministers. Far greater results might have been realized if the un- 
divided labors of its ministers could have been bestowed on this field. 


I have baptized, in connection with this church, 46 adults and 155 infants. 


In the last twenty-five years, I have married 116 couples, and during 
my whole ministry I have solemnized 122 marriages. 


I have kept no account of the funerals I have attended, or of funeral 
sermons I have preached. The whole number exceeds, by several fold, the 
number of marriages. 


I have preached to this congregation not less than 1,800 or 2.000 sermons. 


In consequence of the name of Greenfield having been given to the shire 
town of Hancock county, the name of the postoffice and. subsequently, of the 

Digitized by 





church, was changed to Greenwood. The precise dates of these changes I 
have not been able to ascertain. 


1^ ^ 


I " 

1 ! ' 

The Sabbath school was organized soon after the first house of worship 
was built, and has been maintained, w ithout serious interruption, to the present 
time. Many children and youth have been instructed in it, in the knowledge 
of God's word. What the results of that instruction have been will be known 
only in eternity. Though it has not received the moral and pecuniary sup- 
port of the congregation which its importance and efficiency demanded, the 
Sabbath school has been a nursery in which plants of righteousness have been 
reared for the garden of the Lord on earth, and for Paradise above. The 
superintendents, so far as I have learned, have been James Smock, Cornelius 
Smock, John L. Carson, John Q. Smock, Robert Todd, W. H. Wishard, 
Caleb Beckes and A. C. Woods. 


For several years this church was the only ecclesiastical organization in 
this vicinity. The population was homogeneous, and the people were almost 
unanimous in their preference for Presbyterianism. On March 30, 1833, the 
New Providence church was organized by Rev. W. W. Woods, with 23 mem- 
bers ; of this number, 22 were set oflf from this church by order of presbytery. 
The daughter has lived in harmony with the mother church, and has usually 
enjoyed the labors of the same minister. It has been blessed with a good 
degree of prosperity. It has shared in the changes and fluctuations so com- 
mon to western churches. In the division of the Presbyterian church, in 1838, 
it was rent in twain. It numbers at present about fifty members. The name 
of the church has been changed to Southport. 

The Baptist church was instituted at this place July 17, 1839, with 18 
members. The w^hole number of members that have belonged to it is 224. 
The present number of members is 103. Their present pastor is Rev. E. S. 

The Methodist Episcopal church was organized December 21, 1850, by 
the late Rev. E. D. Long. The present number of members is 46. The 
pastor in charge is Rev. James M. Crawford. 

"The Second Presbyterian church, of Greenwood, Old School,'' was 
organized by a committee of presbytery, March 11, 1854, with 8 members. 

Digitized by 



The whole numbers of members that have been received into it is 26. The 
present number of members is 15. It has been without a minister for a con- 
siderable period. 

'The Christian Church," of Greenwood was organized April 29, i860, 
with 41 members. The present number of members is 60. Their minister is 
Prof. R. T. Brown. 

With all these churches we have lived in harmony, and our relations have 
never been more fraternal than at the present time. 


The following list comprises the names of those who have exercised the 
office of ruling elder, in this church, with the time of their continuing in office : 

Garret Brewer, ordained December 31, 1825, died June 16, i86a 

James Smock, ordained December 31, 1825, died February 9, 1830. 

Alexander Wilson, ordained March 4, 1829, resigned March 6, 1830.. 

Cornelius Smock, ordained March 6, 1830, dismissed February 15, 1839. 

Garret Sorter, ordained March 6, 1830. ^ 

John Sebern, ordained March 6, 1830, dismissed March 30, 1833. 

John L. Carson, installed June 16, 1833, died August 11, 1836. 

Abraham V. Brewer, ordained November 20, 1836, resigned December 
26, 1841. 

Samuel Eccles, ordained November 20, 1836, dismissed June 17, 1855. 

John R. Smock, ordained January 30, 1842. 

John P. Garr, ordained January 30, 1842, dismissed May, 1845. 

William H. Wishard, ordained May 25, 1845, dismissed January 5, 1861. 

Robert Todd, ordained May 25, 1845, dismissed Octobeer 22, 1855. 

John T. McClintick, ordained January 18, 1852, dismissed January 30, 

Caleb Beckes, ordained April i, 1854, dismissed November 6, 1859. 

Thomas B. Noble, ordained April i, 1854. 

Woodford A. Woods, ordained October 6, i860. 

Joseph M. Wishard, ordained October 6, i860. 

David S. Whitenack, ordained October 6, i860. 

The present eldership consists of Garret Sorter, John R. Smock, Thomas 
B. Noble, Woodford A. Woods, Joseph M. Wishard and David S. Whitenack. 


Digitized by 









William McGee, ordained March 4, 1829, died October, 1846.. 

Garret Sorter, ordained March 4, 1829, resigned March 6, 1830. 

Samuel Brewer, ordained March 6, 1830, dismissed March 30, 1833. 

Samuel D. Comingore, ordained November 20, 1836, dismissed Septem- 
ber 4, 1864. 

John Whitenack, ordained November 20, 1836, dismissed 1839. 

Peter Whitenack, ordained December, 1846. 

John Brewer, ordained December, 1846. 

Fielding R. Voris, dismissed February 2, 1853. 

William Gregg, dismissed November 5, 1854. 

Alfred C. Woods, dismissed November 5, 1854, 

The present deacons of the church are Peter Whitenack. John Brewer, 
William Gregg and Alfred C. Woods. 


The country was originally covered with a heavy and dense forest. It 
has required Herculean labor to open up the ground for cultivation. The 
original settlers had to endure great exposure and hardships, and subject them- 
selves to great privations. Twenty-four years ago the farms in this region 
were but partially opened, and scarcely any land was enclosed except what 
was cultivated with the plow. The people were very much isolated from 
the rest of the world. There were no stores or points of trade nearer than 
Indianapolis and Franklin, and those places afforded but indifferent markets 
for the prodiKe of the country. To obtain their groceries and other neces- 
saries of life, the farmers had to transport their produce, in wagons, to the 
Ohio river and barter them, at very low rates, for such things as they needed. 

For several years after I came here the greater part of the land on 
which the village of Greenwood stands was covered with the native forest. 
The village sprang up by the force of circumstances. It arose from the 
necessities of the country. The first dry-goods store established here was in 
1845, by James W. Parker. The branches of mechanical industry, usually 
found in a country village, were soon afterwards introduced. The completion 
of the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad in the fall of 1847, ^ve an impetus 
to the village and to the industrial interests of the country. Of the two oldest 
dwellings in the village, I built the second in 1840, clearing away the native 

Digitized by 



te. It is now owned and occupied by Grafton Johnson, Esq. 
essed the rise and growth of this village, and the wonderful 
the surrounding country in appearance, wealth and the coni- 


e been noticed, the school was established almost as soon as 
las been continued with but little interruption to the present 
igh the standard of education in this community has never 
as it should have been, and though our schools have not been 
le as they should have been, they have maintained a position 
superior to those in most of the rural districts of the country, 
amber of young men within my field of labor have been mem- 
r or shorter period, of Wabash College, three of whom have 
raduated from that institution. Of those, one is a minister 
; is a physician, and the other is in the army. It is a humili- 
) one has entered the ministry from this church, and but one 
my labor. Rev. S. E. Wishard, of Tecumseh, Michigan. 


Ration has contributed more than twenty soldiers to the army 
this time of the nation's trial, of whom the greater part were 
church. Of these two are ruling elders, and of the whole 
^e fallen by disease contracted in the army. 


is a vine of God's own planting. He has baptized it copiously 
It has enjoyed many seasons of refreshing from the presence 
) special record has been kept of the many revivals of religion 

the history of the church. I know nothing of these revivals 
linistry here, except what may be inferred from the additions 
rch, from time to time from the world. The first general 
; seems to have taken place in 1829, in which year twenty- 
^ere added to the church, twenty-one of whom were received 

faith. In the succeeding year there was a still more exten- 
ice, resulting in the addition of forty-eight members to the 
ight of them from the world. In the following year, 183 1, 

Digitized by 






another revival occurred, as the result of which, sixteen persons united with 
the church on examination. In 1833 ^^^ Holy Spirit was again poured out 
upon the congregation, by which seventeen were hopefully converted. Con- 
siderable accessions were made from the world in "1837, 1838 and 1839. 

The first revival after I commenced my ministery was enjoyed in 1840, 
bringing seventeen into the church from the world. The two following years 
were also signalized by the visitations of the Divine Spirit, resulting in the 
addition of twenty in 1841, and nineteen in 1842 on examination. The years 
1850 and 1853, were marked by seasons of special religious interest. The 
revival in 1856, resulted in larger additions to the church than from any season 
of refreshing enjoyed during my ministry. As the fruits of that work, 
twenty-eight persons were experienced in 1858, i860 and 1862. And at other 
times there have been manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit, in 
Irfs quickening and sanctifying influence. Although the most enlarged Christ- 
tlan charity will not require or justify us in saying or believing, that all those 
who have been admitted to the church from the world have been born again, 
the evidence of a genuine work of grace in many hearts is too palpable to ad- 
mit of a doubt that God has put the seal of his favor upon the church in re- 
peated instances. And thus the church, under God, has been the spiritual 
mother of many precious souls. These repeated manifestations of the divine 
favor should encourage us to pray for new and more glorious outpourings of 
the Holy Spirit. 

Camp meetings were held in the autumn of 1833 and 1834, a mile north 
of where we are, which were attended with much apparent interest and profit. 


The church was without the regular ministration of the gospel for nearly 
three years after its organization. From the sermon preached by Rev. Isaac 
Reed on the day succeeding the organization of the church, we learn that he 
had been invited, and expected, **to form a ministerial relation" with the 
church. But, for reasons not given, the relation was not consummated. Mr. 
Reed was a pioneer in this state; he came into it in 1818. He traveled 
extensively in the state, and organized more churches in the state, probably, 
than any other man. He came to this state from Kentucky, though he was a 
native, I believe, of New York, He died January 14, 1858, in Olney, Illinois, 
after many years of arduous and unrequited toil. The church enjoyed the. 
preaching of the word only occasionally. Among those who occasionally 
preached for the people was Rev. Mr. Duncan. He resided at Vevay, in this 

Digitized by 



State. He was of Scotch descent, had been connected with the Associate or 
Associate Reformed church. He wais a very sensible man, intei^esting a,nd 
instructive in conversation, but not attractive as a preacher. He seems never 
to have had a charge, but he made frequent missionary ex(!ursions, and re- 
ceived such compensation as the people saw fit to give. He died more than 
thirty years ago, very suddenly and unexpectedly, at the house of a friend, a 
few miles north of Madison, where he had stopped merely to spend the night. 
The first minister who regularly supplied the church seems to have been 
the Rev. Jeremiah Hill. He was a native of Maine, born June 7, 1793. He 
was a very wicked boy, and spent several years of his early manhood in the 
commission of acts of crime and gross immorality. He embraced the doc- 
trine of universal salvation, and then atheism. He went to western Pennsyl- 
vania, where he was the leader in every vice. He found a home in a pious 
family, through W'hose instrumentality, especially that of the mother, he was 
converted from the error of his ways. Burning with a desire to do something 
to advance the kingdom of Christ, after visiting his mother, he went to the 
Cherokee nation, among whom the American Board had established a mission. 
Not approving the manner in which the mission was conducted, he went to an- 
other place, built a cabin, cleared some ground, and collected some scholars. 
During the year he raised more corn and taught more scholars than they did 
at the mission without missionary aid. His course in regard to the mission 
soon brought him into notice, and he received encouragement and aid from 
ery, to enable him to acquire a partial education, which he ob- 
ville, Tennessee. He was licensed by Union presbytery in the 
5, and was probably ordained by the same body a short time 
noved to Indiana in September, 1828, and took charge of the 
ranklin and Hopewell, and he gave a p^rt of his time to this 
sral months, until the arrival of Rev. W. W. Woods, in January, 
n took an agency for the American Sunday School Union, and 
lat work about a year. In the latter part of 1830 he commenced 
ited supply in Bethany church in Owen county, and continued 
md in parts adjacent, till the spring of 1836. In July following 
►wnstown. Soon after, he ceased from his labors. On the 22d 
left home to attend a sacramental meeting near Bedford. He 
iwell at the time, but at the request of the ministers present, he 
e Sabbath, August 24th. Immediately after the sermon, which 
id a half in length, he was taken severely ill. and was conveyed 
He died on the following Sabbath, August 31, 1836. Mr. 

Digitized by 









Hillj as a preacher, is represented to have been zealous, plain and pointed. 
He was at times uncouth and severe in his remarks, and he oftentimes gave 
great offense. But there was general confidence in his sincerity and piety, and 
his labors were blessed to the salvation of many souls. 

Rev. William W. Woods succeeded Mr. Hill in this church. He com- 
menced his ministry to this church in June, 1829, and continued to supply it 
for four years, until May or June, 1833. He then took an agency for the 
American Sunday School Union for two years, from June, 1833, and after 
this he was agent for the American Tract Society for two years. In the fall 
of 1837, he removed to Putnamville, in this state, and in 1841 he settled in 
Iowa City, where he now resides. At present, he is chaplain in the army. 

Mr. Woods was born in Washington county, Virginia, September 18, 
1799; removed to Tennessee in 1812, graduated at Greenville College, Tennes- 
see, in 1826, and having studied theology previous to his graduation, he was 
licensed to preach in 1826 by Union presbytery, and was ordained by the same 
presbytery at Washington, Tennessee, in 1827. Mr. Woods' ministry to this 
church of four years was very successful in building up the church; more than 
one hundred members were added to it on examination and certificate within 
that period. 

After Mr. Woods gave up the charge of the church, Rev. Hillary Patrick 
supplied the pulpit of the church for six months, having charge of the school 
at the same time. At the close of that period, he removed to Mississippi. He 
now resides in Tamaroa, Illinois. The church was in a flourishing state while 
under his charge ; additions were made to it, but how many, I have not been 
able to ascertain. 

Rev. Eliphalet Kent succeeded Mr. Patrick. He received a call, in due 
form, from the church to become its pastor. I have not been able to learn 
the precise date at which he began his ministry here; but on May 9th, 1834, 
he was installed the first pastor of the church by the Indianapolis presbytery. 
Sermon by Rev. Mr. Herd, and charge to the pastor and people by Rev. W. 
W. Woods. 

Mr. Kent was born in Dorset, Vermont, March 17, 1800; graduated at 
Williams College in 1825 ; pursued his theological course at Auburn Seminary ; 
was licensed to preach by the Berkshire (Mass.) Association in 1829, and was 
ordained shortly afterwards by the Rutland (Vt.) Association. He came to 
Indiana in the fall of 1829, and spent a year as a home missionary in Barthol- 
omew and Shelby counties. After that his labors were confined to Shelby 
county, until his removal to this field. His labors were much blessed in the 

Digitized by 



[ organization of several churches in Shelby county. He re- 
ral office in 1839, and at the meeting of the presbytery in Octo- 
, the relation between him and this church was dissolved. He 
liately to Shelby county, where he continues to reside. His 

fruitful one; upwards of seventy members were added to the 
he six years of his ministry. During most of this time, Mrs. 
e of the school. She was an excellent and successful teacher, 
f is fragrant in the hearts of many of her pupils at this day. 
1 Mr. Kent as minister of this church. In regard to my pre- 

would state that I was born in what is now Marion county, 
imber 27, 181 1. I graduated at Centre College, Kentucky, in 
ed my studies at the Theological Seminary in Andover, Massa- 
iting with the class of 1835. I was licensed to preach by the 
iation in April, 1835. On returning west in the fall of that 

an invitation to the Presbyterian church in Jeffersonville, in 
itered on my labors there January i, 1836, and was ordained 
stor of that church in November of the same year. The plow- 
)n, which ran through the Presbyterian church in 1838, dis- 
irch. This greatly weakened that part of the church which 
e ; so much so, that I found it necessary for me to resign my 

closed my labors there, at the end of June, 1839, after a 
je years and a half. 

hiis congregation, by invitation of the session, in November, 
ched my first sermon within its bounds, on the 17th of that 
louse of one of the elders, Mr. Sorter, who then lived seven 

place. On the evening of the same day I preached my first 
:hool room of the old church. 

ult of that visit, this church and the New Providence church 
itation to the work of the ministry among them. The invita- 
id, and I arrived with my family on Saturday evening, Decem- 
id commenced my labors the next day, preaching my first ser- 

2:20, 21, and, having obtained help of God, I continue with 
esent day. 

pledged for only one-half of my labors to this church, for 
devoted three-quarters of my time here, and the other c|uarter 
v^ Providence church. About the year 1848, I took charge of 
it church, giving to it one-fourth of my time, until the close of 
vhen, in consequence of the almost entire extinction of that 
1 and removal, I ceased to preach at that point. 

Digitized by 







■ i| 






I 5 


; ■ 







After a probation of more than ten years, I was installed pastor of this 
and the associate churches of Southport and Mt. Pleasant, May 2, 1850. Rev. 
C E. Babb preached the sermon, on the occasion, from ist Cor. 2:2. Rev. 
A. S. Avery gave the charge to the pastor, and Rev. Charles Merwin gave 
the charge to the people. 

In February, 1853, I resigned the charge of the New Providence church 
in order that that church might secure a minister who could give them more 
preaching and pastoral supervision than I could bestow. Rev. William A. 
Campbell, of Tennessee, was immediately employed by that church, and he 
continued his labors 'until his removal by death, August 25th following. In 
the early part of 1854, Rev. B. M. Nyce was employed to fill the vacant pulpit, 
which he continued to do till the spring of 1855. Mr. Nyce was immediately 
succeeded by Rev. James Brownlee, who remained until August, 1856. Mr. 
Nyce was again employed until the close of 1857. 

On the 1st of January. 1858, I again took charge of that church and have 
continued my labors there to the present time. My time is divided equally 
between that church and this. 


In view of this retrospect of the past, the following remarks suggest 
themselves : 

I. We are reminded of the rapid passage of time and the near approach 
of our final account. A quarter of a century has passed away since I became 
your minister. How rapidly the years have come and gone ! Like a tale that 
is told, or a dream when one awaketh ! I came among you in the freshness 
and vigor of youth. Gray hairs are upon me now. A new generation has 
come up around me. Some of you who were little children when I came, and 
one whom I sprinkled with the water of baptismal consecration, have families 
.of your own, and on some of your children I have performed the same conse- 
crating act which I did for you. 

How many are there here to-day who were present at my first sermon ? 
Who that saw the congregation then would recognize it now ? How great the 
change! The fathers and mothers, where are they? Where is that Israelite, 
indeed, Garret Brewer? Where are James Smock, John L. Carson, Wm. 
Woods, John B. Smock, Rachel Smock, and other godly women as v^ell as 
men, whose names I have not time to mention? Having washed their robes 
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, as we trust, they are worship- 

Digitized by 



ing in the upper sanctuary to-day, and, perhaps, are interested ^ectators of 
this memorial scene. 

We, too, must soon give up our stewardship. Twenty-five years are a 
large portion of a minister's pastoral life. This is our silver wedding. We 
shall never celebrate our golden wedding. Before the lapse of twenty-five 
years this tongue will, in all probability, be still in death, and many of you 
who hear me will sleep in the grave. We shall have gone to our final account. 
How momentous will be the issue of that account ! What a record we have 
rt years ! 

is the account which the minister of the gospel must render 
final Judge! Overwhelming responsibilities are laid upon 
5 ambassador to a race in rebellion against the government 
1 commissioned to teach men the way of life and salvation, 
nption that is in Christ Jesus, and to persuade men to be 
He is to be a guide to the blind, an instructor of the 
acher of babes. He is a leader of the sacramental host of 
J required to be an example to all the flock. Who is suflS- 
igs? And yet all this responsibility is committed to "earthen 
nister is a man of like passions w'lth other men, subject to 
:y, temptations and adverse influences as other men. He 
to holiness and heaven, but has to attain them by the same 
*s do. In the prosecution of his work he is often assailed by 
3ach, his motives are impugned, and all the obstacles which 
c ingenuity can devise are thrown in his way. Often he is 
t apathy, the waywardness, and even opposition of members 
o should be his fellow helpers in the gospel. Added to all 
epressing influence arising from an inadequate and irregular 
Well may the minister of the gospel look forward, with 
ime when he shall give an account of his stewardship. How 
ministry among you will stand, I shall not attempt to divine. 
o{ the word, too, as well as the preacher, must give an ac- 
^ovement of their privileges. How have you received the 
From my lips? Have I been a savior of life unto life to any 
>een a sevior of death unto death to you ? Soon your places 
ctuary will be vacant. Some of you, I doubt not, will then 
f God in heaven, to go no more out : but is there not reason 
3f you who have long heard me preach will perish with them 

Digitized by 







1 ^i 



2.. The commencement and continuance of my ministry among you have 
been, as I verily believe, of the Lord. My coming here was not of my own 
seeking; it seemed to be the plain ordering of Providence that I should come 
to this field. I was not drawn hither by any external attractions. The country 
was new and the place very secluded. But the path of duty seemed plain and 
I enterediupon it cheerfully. 

I have. not remained with you for considerations of a pecuniary nature. 
My salary has always been small, never haying been more than sufficient to 
meet, with the strictest economy, the physical necessities of my family, and at 
no time enough to meet all the expenses of it. He whose is the silver and the 
gold, has, in a most remarkable manner, and in most unexpected ways, sup- 
plied my wants. I have coveted no man's gold or silver. I have rejoiced in 
all your prosperity. I have endeavored not to be anxious about this world, 
and to cast my cares on Him who knoweth what we have need of, and who has 
pledged Himself to provide for those who seek first the Kingdom of God and 
its righteousness. And here let me remark that I do not think it a breach 
of delicacy or propriety for me to say in this public manner, that if I have 
been able to live among you in comfort, and have contributed to your spiritual 
welfare, it is, in a great measure, to be attributed, under God, to her whom 
He has given me for a help-meet and companion. Her frugality, energy, self- 
denial and prudence have contributed largely to my usefulness and your spirit- 
ual interests. I can adopt the words of Solomon, "The heart of her husband 
doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do 
him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She looketh well to the ways 
of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." 

My continuance with you, for so many years, has seemed to me to be as 
much the orderings of Providence as my coming. At several different times 
it has appeared to be right and proper for me to remove to other fields of labor, 
but in every attempt to go my way has been hedged up, and the voice of 
Providence seemed to say, "go not up hence." I have been with you in 
"weakness and in fear, and in much trembling." I think I can say with the 
Apostle, "When I came to you, I came not with excellency of speech or of wis- 
dom, declaring unto you the testimony of God." I have not attempted the 
arts of a polished rhetoric or the display of worldly wisdom, to win your ap- 
plause or gain your assent to the truth of the gospel. I have endeavored to 
declare unto you plainly, the whole counsel of God. I have tried to explain 
and enforce the great doctrines of the Christian scheme. I have not, inten- 
tionally, kept back any truth of God's word from you. I have insisted upon 

Digitized by 



enjoined in the scriptures. I have sought to convince gain- 

the careless, to guide the enquiring, to reprove the erring and 
nd to comfort and edify the people of God. I have endeavored, 
apply the principles of the gospel to the sins and vices of the age. 
1 plainly against intemperance, slavery. Sabbath-breaking, and 
)f iniquity. I have had no hobbies. I have obtruded no one 
Lindue frequency and prominence, upon you, nor have I evaded 

fear of exciting your displeasure and losing your support. I 
to instruct you in all the great truths of revelation, and to lead 
e the virtues enjoined in the viord of God. 
say this much, I am deeply conscious and ashamed of the im- 
'' my ministry. None of you have a more disparaging opinion 
as, and other public performances, than I have. You have 

many errors and inconsistencies in my ministerial and christian 
ink you for your forbearance and ask you to cover them with 

charity, and I pray God not to enter into judgment with his 
ese things. I have been with you in sickness and in health. I 
h you in your seasons of festivity and affliction. I have gath- 

you into the fold of Christ. I have attended your weddings, 
children and buried your dead. Thus I have been bound to you 

tender and sacred ties which naught but death can sunder. I 
many tokens of kindness and affection from you, for which you 
:eful thanks. My course has not always been on a smooth 

-At times the heavens have been overcast wHth clouds, the 
sen to a gale, and the waves have run high. My course has 
ated excitement and aroused opposition. But the winds have 
I the waves have died away without serious damage; the sun, 
rs have come out again, and the usual calm has prevailed. I 
[ht peace by a cowardly betrayal of truth. I have courted no 
lor have I used flattering words. At the same time I have tried 
postolic precepts, "speaking the truth in love : sound speech that 
demned, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, 
1 thing to say of you.'* Whatever anathemas may have been 
linst me, in my absence, it gives me great pleasure to say that 

excitements and oppositions which my ministrations have oc- 
^e uniformly been treated with respect. No one has offered me 
or insult. It is a matter of great gratification, and an instance 
I of truth, that vast changes have taken place in public sentiment 

Digitized by 





about me, as well as throughout the country, generally, especially in favor of 
universal freedom. 

3. The occasion wo^ld justify an extended reply to the inquiry, has 
there been an adequate return for the expense in time, labor and money in sus- 
taining this church? It costs something to sustain the institutions of religion. 
Some regard it as a waste of money to spend it for such purposes. Others 
consider it an act of charity to support the Gospel. By many it is felt to be a 
burden and a tax to sustain the means of grace, for which there is no adequate 
compensation. It has cost, probably, $20,000 to meet all the expenses of this 
church since its organization. Has this been a wise expenditure of money? 
Does the gospel pay? Does a community receive an equivalent for what is 
expended in sustaining the ordinances of religion? Would it be better for 
society to expend this money in some other way ? To this it may be replied, 
in general, that **godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the 
life that now is, and of that which is to come/' But churches and ministers 
are necessary to the promotion of religion. 

Leaving out of view all the bearings of the Gospel on the spiritual and 
eternal welfare of men, we maintain that its influence on the temporal inter- 
ests of the world exceeds its cost far beyond what any arithmetical formulas 
can compute. This may be made to appear from several considerations : 

1st. Consider the effect of the gospel on the pecuniary interests of man- 
kind. It gives almost its entire value to property. What gives property its 
value? One of the main things is, the security of the tenure by which it is 
held. If this is uncertain, if property is insecure, it is so far worthless. Was 
not property worth more under the reigns of David and Solomon, than under 
the reign of the unprincipled and rapacious Ahab? Was property in Sodom, 
in the time of Lot as valuable as in the community where Abraham bore rule? 
But what made the difference? Had not religion much to do with it? 

Is not a farm in Indiana worth far more than one of equal size and fertil- 
ity in Mexico, where misrule and revolution, like waves of desolation, roll 
over the country in quick succession? And what w^ould these fertile acres 
be worth if they were still the hunting grounds of the Indian, and if the viMg- 
wam had never given place to the sanctuary, and the yell of the savage had not 
been changed for the voice of the living preacher? Moreover, what builds 
our railroads, constructs our steamboats^ and whitens every sea with our can- 
vas, and thus opens the markets of the world for our products? It is Chris- 
tianity that generates that confidence among men, which produces that com- 
bination of wealth and enterprise necessary to such grand results. And by 

Digitized by 



whom is Christianity brought into contact with the hearts and consciences of 
men so effectually as by the ministers of the gospel ? Why is property more 
valuable in a community of churches and schools, than in one of an opposite 
character ? Why is the wealth and the enterprise of the world in the hands 
of Christian nations? But what would become of that wealth if the pulpits of 
Christendom were closed? 

2. Consider the influence of Christianity on the civilization and intelli- 
gence of the world. It is the patron of art, science and literature. The arts 
md flourish under her auspices. The school, the academy, and 
ng up and flourish only under the fostering care of the church, 
nces with the expansion of religion. The superiority of Chris- 
en lands, in intelligence, intellectual vigor, philosophy, science, 
nt and grasp of knowledge is to be attributed to the influence 
Christianity quickens and invigorates the mind, and gives 
jrgy to the intellectual movements and agencies of the world, 
f the gospel are the earnest advocates and zealous promoters of 
the country is indebted to them more than to any other class 
advanced state of intelligence and the excellence of our institu- 
ig. The church is the grand preserver of the nation from 
►ranee and mental imbecility. 

due of the church may be seen in its influence on the regenera- 
e of society. 

vity of the race is universal, and the consequent train of evils 
inkind is frightful in extent, and malignant in effect. The 
vhere cursed with vices of giant magnitude, and crushed be- 
f tyranny and grinding oppression. Now, what is the cause of 
ade-spread evils under which the human race is groaning, and 
edy? The problem to be solved is how to get rid of evil, how 
it from a tree whose apples have hitherto been so bitter: "how 
devil, whose name is Legion, from human society, and bring 
:o a paradisiacal state?" The attempt has been made to form 
naterials, and by human institutions, a perfect state of society. 
1 of this world has proved itself, on this question, to be folly, 
as chimerical as the effort to discover the philosopher's stone, 
had its dreamers, and though they may have dreamed on a 
le, their visions have been magnificent failures. And so must 
e to be that fails to recognize the source of human ills. 
1, is that tree from which bitter fruits have been gathered? 

Digitized by 



It is sin ; the natural depravity of every individual man. This is the true Pan- 
dora's box, the bitter fountain whence issue the streams of human woe. That 
fountain must be purified before its poisonous streams will cease to flow. 

The gospel is the divine and only remedy for the ills of the world. Make 
the tree good, and its fruit will be good. Christianity has wrought all the 
great moral changes in the world. Wherever it has gone, it has produced 
individual peace and social happiness. The best regulated communities are 
those where Christianity most prevails. Human government, laws, organiza- 
tions, and appliances of whatever kind, are ineffectual to produce social order, 
except so far as the gospel is brought to bear on the hearts and consciences 
of men. We claim for Christianity all the virtue and happiness that exist in 
society. Thus religion contributes, in a thousand ways, to the prosperity, 
wealth, peace, intelligence and happiness of the world. We are indebted to 
the gospel for everything we possess that is valuable. Though regarded too 
much as an object of charity, the riches of the world are the princely gifts of 
its hands ; it is the world's greatest benefactor. The pulpit, so far from being 
in debt to the pew, is the largest contributor to the wealth, intelligence, and 
peace of society. The church has amply liquidated all the claims which the 
world has to bring against her. Ministers should l>e regarded as something 
more than pensioners on the liberality of the church or the charity of the 
world. The laborer is worthy of his hire. 

Who can estimate the good which this church has accomplished in this 
community in the promotion of morals, education and wealth? Tf, now, we 
take a higher view, and if we could estimate the good which has been done 
by this church to the spiritual interests of many who have been brought under 
her influence, how immeasurable the gain above the expense. Twenty thou- 
sand dollars are as nothing in comparison. A thousand fold would be as a 
drop in the bucket. 

4. The rewards of the faithful minister of the gospel are very great. 
Notwithstanding the crushing responsibilities, trials, labors and pecuniary 
embarrassments of the ministry, there is much in the ministerial life to support 
and comfort us. There is no class of men more happy than ministers. They 
are more cheerful than men of other professions. They are less burdened 
.with care and corroding anxiety than men of business. They are admitted to 
the best circles of society, and hold delightful communion with the wise and 
good of the present and former times. .And great is their joy when they see 
the work of the Lord prospering in their hands. And still greater bliss and 
glory await them at the final day. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown 

Digitized by 



of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at 
his coming?" A crown of righteousness shall be given to all them that love 
the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be a crown of glory ; but with 
some it will be a crown without a jewel. But the faithful and successful 
minister of the gospel shall wear a diadem sparkling 'with gems of the rich- 
est lustre. They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for- 
ever and ever. When the riches of the world are all consumed, and the 
thrones and coronets of kings and queens have melted in the fires of the last 
great day, the true and faithful minister of Christ will have his greatest 

**Now was come his rest. 

His triumph day. Illustrious like the sun, 

In that assembly, he, shining from afar. 

Most excellent in glory stood assured, 

Waiting the promised throne. 

The welcome, and approval of his Love. 
And round him gathered, clad 

In white, the vouchers of his ministry. 

The flock his care had nourished, fed and saved.'' 

What scene can be more glorious and blissful in the day of judgment than 
the servant of Christ with the seals of his ministry about him and receiving 
the approbation of the Master, and a crown garnished with redeemed spirits, 
shining like precious stones, with the light of heaven ! What are all thd trials, 
self-denial, self-reproach and poverty of the ministry compared with such a 
consummation! I know not that such a reward awaits me: but "when the 
Chief Shepherd shall appear," may I receive a crown of glory that fadeth 
not away, and may each of my dear people be set in it as a jewel to reflect the 
lustre of the King of Glory. Amen and Amen. 

Succeeding P. S. Cleland in 1866, Rev. Horace Bushnell was the pastor 
of the Greenwood Presbyterian church for three years. The next pastor was 
Rev. A. Dunn, who served until 1878, to be followed by Rev. J. B. Logan for 
two years. Rev. J. B. Jones became pastor in 1880, who after one year was 
succeeded by Mr. Dunn for a second pastorate of eighteen months. Rev. 
James Williamson then served the church until October, 1887. when Rev. D. 
•R. Love was called. He was followed by S. V. McKee and the latter by E. 
Smith Miller. W. B. Durham was called in 1901 and remained two years. 

Digitized by 



' K 


5 1 




Rev. Thomas J. Simons followed Durham, and in 1907 E. L. Williams be- 
came pastor. On December i, 191 1, William L. Clarke, the present able 
pastor, was called, and the church is now in excellent condition, with two 
hundred and eighteen active members. 

The congregation occupies a handsome church edifice, erected in 1898, 
and dedicated with appropriate religious exercises on November 6th of that 


Hopewell Presbyterian church had its beginning in the mind and heart 
of Thomas Henderson, although he, like his nearest neighbor, Simon Covert, 
first sought membership at Franklin. Judge Banta is authority for the state- 
ment that the first sermon preached in the neighborhood was at the house 
of Simon Covert in 1825 by the Rev. Samuel Gregg, of Tennessee. Others 
who very early came to minister to the spiritual needs of the community 
were Rev. Isaac Reed, father of many churches in central Indiana, William 
Lowery, William Henderson, William Duncan, Jeremiah Hill, J. R. More- 
land and E. Kent. 

The church was first organized on May 23, 1 831, by the Revs. Moreland 
and Monfort, the latter being its first pastor and at the same time serving the 
Franklin church. The first church services were held in the old log school 
house, of which mention is made in another chapter. The first regular church 
building was erected in 1835, a plain but substantial building, forty-five by 
sixty feet. After Dr. Monfort resigned to give all of his time to the Frank- 
lin church, he was succeeded by William Sickles for about a year. Rev. 
Sayers Gazley succeeded hihi for about two and a half years. 

Rev. D. V. Smock was pastor from 1842 to 1849. He was followed by 
Rev. James Gallatin, as supply, and in 1851 Rev. F. K. Lyon came to serve 
the people until 1854. Then came the Rev. A. C. Allen for nearly five years. 
In November, 1859, Rev. John F. Smith was called, and continued as pastor 
until his death, in 1864. Rev. S. F. Barr was the next pastor for ten years, 
succeeded by Rev. F. Black for eight years. In December, 1883, Rev. J. W. 
Pugh was called to the pastorate and served seven years, resigning June 22, 
1890. Rev. E. I. Davies was installed as pastor shortly thereafter, and he re- 
mained at Hopewell until January 28, 1894. Rev. John H. Bright began his 
pastorate June 2, 1894, and served six years and nine months. Albert R. 
Woodson was formerly called January it, 1902, and was installed May 23d 
following. He resigned June 12, 1904. About two months later. Dr. J. H. 

Digitized by 



Alalcolm was extended a call, and continued his ministry at Hopewell until 

i^ovember 17, 19 12. About a month later the Rev. John B. Ferguson, the 

present pastor, began his connection with the church. 

A Sunday school was organized at Hopewell as early as 1827, and a 

parsonage was provided for the pastor during the ministry of Rev. D. V. 

^mock. Many of Hopewell's sons have entered the gospel ministry. Rev. 

;^. Smith Miller and Rev. James Harvey VanNuys, both now deceased; the 
Jievs. Daniel B. Banta, Samuel W. LaGrange, David S. McCaslin, Robert 
^haw, William C. Covert, Victor B. Demaree, J. Thomas Henderson, W. 
I^owrie VanNuys, RoUin McCaslin, Charles H. McCaslin, Ezra VanNuys, 
I^owrey Moore and Gilbert Voorhies, all belong to that goodly band of 
(Christian gentlemen who received their training in the schools and church 
at Hopewell. 


,0^ ^ V, 

Bethany Presbyterian church (Whiteland) was organized September, 
""v. David Monfort and William Sickles, pursuant to an order 
ianapolis presbytery. The following are the names of those who 
r an organization: A. V. and Emma Banta, Jane, Jane Ann, 
rancis Dobbins, John Fitzpatrick, Thomas, L. R., Samuel C. 
nes H., Archibald C and Polly Graham, Samuel C. and Jane 
The organization was effected at the residence of Lewis Gra- 
distance from the present site of Whiteland, and at the first 
following persons additional to those enumerated were received 
hip: A. Banta, Adaline Dobbins, Allen D. and Elizabeth Gra- 
X)ut four years services were regularly held in a school house 
> of a mile southeast of Whiteland, and at the end of that time a 
he especial use of the church was erected about two miles north- 
llage. This was a frame edifice, thirty by forty feet in size, and 
1 the purposes for which it was intended until 1866. In that 
Ful brick building, forty by sixty feet in size, was erected' in the 
liteland at a cost of four thousand dollars. A neat parsonage 
[875, and the church property is among the best in the county. 


^resbyterian church (Union township) was organized on the 
October, 1832, at the residence of James Wylie by Rev. David 

Digitized by 



Monfort, the following persons presenting certificates of admission: Jesse 
Young and Margaret, his wife, from Strait Creek, Ohio; Rebecca Clark, 
Rachel Titus and Rachel Young, from West Union, Ohio, and John Young, 
from Franklin, Indiana. Jesse Young was elected, ordained and installed 
ruling elder, and it was unanimously resolved to call the new organization 
the Shiloh Presbyterian church. Before July, 1834, four additional mem- 
bers were received, all upon examination: Joseph Young, Mary Young, 
Thomas Titus and Mary Titus. The congregation had occasional preaching 
until Jluy, 1834, when the first church building was erected. The first meeting 
in this house was held July 30, 1834, Rev. David Monfort preaching and 
ordaining and installing an additional ruling elder, Joseph Young. From 
this period until 1840 the church record shows an addition of forty-one mem- 
bers. From the same source it is learned that from the organization until 
1887 two hundred and forty-three members had been received into the 
church, of whom only twelve were remaining July, 1887. It was in the 
decade between 1840 and 1850 that the log meeting house was removed and 
the present tasteful frame structure erected in its stead. 

On December 6, 1888, at a meeting of all the resident members, it was 
unanimously agreed to remove the records and membership to the Hopewell 
church. The twelve remaining members were received into the Hopewell 
church on Sunday. January 6, 1889. The Shiloh church never had but one 
regular pastor, the Rev. David V. Smock, from 1843 ^^ 1850. all other min- 
isters engaged being supplies. 


The Presbyterian church in Edinburg was organized by the Rev. Henry 
Little, D. D., September 4, 1864, in connection with the New School branch 
of the Presbyterian church. The original members were twelve in number, 
namely: A. S. Rominger, Amanda Rominger, Clarissa Remley, Rachel 
Stuart, Martha Toner, Catherine Cox, Sarah Deming, Sarah Adams, Mary 
(Shipp) Givens, Emily Rominger and Adelaide Rominger. A. S. Rominger 
was elected ruling elder. The first minister was the Rev. William I. Clark, 
who preached his first sermon in March, 1865. He served the church nearly 
two years. Rev. G. D. Parker began his labors with the church as stated 
supply April 21, 1867, and closed the same in April, 1869. Different pastors 
served the church until April, 1882, after which the church was supplied 
more or less recrularlv bv seiiiinarv students for several vears. The church 

Digitized by 



began with twelve members, and has had a checkered career, but has done 
faithful service and has been greatly blessed at times. The highest number 
enrolled was in Rev. H. L. Nave's pastorate, when there was reported a total 
of one hundred and thirty-one and an actual membership of one hundred and 


New Pisgah (Old School) Presbyterian church, Needham township, 
was organized August 6, 1842, by the Rev. John M. Dickey, sixteen persons 
uniting with the organization: James Magill, Maria Magill, James Patter- 
son, Cretia Patterson, Thomas Patterson, Nancy Ann Patterson, Madison 
Kelly, Eliza Kelly, Jefferson Kelly, Catherine Kelly, William Kelly, Julia 
Ann Kelly, Henry Kelly, Francis Stewart, David McAlpin and Diana Pullen. 
David McAlpin, James Magill and James Patterson were elected elders. The 
succession of stated supplies was Revs. William M. Stimson, Benjamin W. 
Nyce, John B. Saye, James McCoy, John Fairchild, James Brownlee, L. P. 
Webber, T. A. Steele and William Clark. In the same neighborhood with the 
New Pisgah church the New Prospect (Old School) church was organized 
by Rev. B'. F. Wood April 10, 1850, the following persons joining the or- 
ganization : John Henderson, Isabell Henderson, Joseph Henderson, Mitchell 
Henderson, James Henderson, Sarah Henderson, Jane McAlpin, Sarah Mc- 
Alpin, John McCord, George Allison, John P. Henderson, Jane Henderson, 
Thomas Patterson, Nancy Patterson, William H. Patterson, Eliza Jane Pat- 
terson and Sarah Patterson. Thomas Patterson and John P. Henderson 
were chosen ruling elders. The Rev. B. F. Wood was the first stated supply, 
followed by Revs. Blackburn, Leffler, John Gilchrist, John O. McKeehan and 
James On September 5. 1870, the Nevv Pisgah (New School) 
and the New Prospect (Old School) churches were consolidated. The united 
church assumed the New School name and occupied the Old School building, 
the membership l)eing fifty. The Rev. J. (1. Williamson was the first stated 
supply ; the Rev. A. R. Naylor and Rev. Mr. Reeves followed, supplying the 
church in the order named. In 1875 Rev. James Williamson commenced to 
supply the church and continued to do so for twelve years, closing his labors 
October i, 1887, the membership at that time being about seventy-five. 

In iSgi-a new brick church house was built by this congregation. Since 
1888 the following pastors have served this church : D. R. Love, 1888: F. M. 
Weatherwax, 1889-1891 : W. J. Alexander, 1891-1893: R. F. Hawley, 1893- 
1898; A. Vonderlippe, 1898-1900: C. E. Alexander. T900-1904: T. Hender- 

Digitized by 






son, 1906; P. Birrell, 1907-1910; R. E. Hawley, 1910-1912; and A. V. 
Crow, the present pastor. 


Shiloh (Cumberland Presbyterian) church, Needham township, was or- 
ganized about the year 1835 in a school house one mile north of the present 
site of Amity village, Rev. Alexander Downey officiating. Among the charter 
members, seventeen in number, were John Kerr and wife, David Alexander 
and wife, John Alexander and wife, John Gribben and wife, James Taylor 
and wife, John Taylor and wife and John R. Kerr and wife. The first house 
of worship, which was not erected until several years after the organization, 
stood about a half mile north of Amity. For some reason not now known 
this building was never completed. In 1852 a frame house was erected about 
three and a half miles southeast of Franklin, in Needham township, on land 
donated by James Taylor. It was a fair building and answered the purposes 
for which it was intended until 1882. In that year the present temple of 
worship, a beautiful frame edifice, thirty-two by forty-two feet, was built on 
the same lot at a cost of sixteen hundred dollars, the membership at that 
time being about one hundred. 


Dr. William T. Stott, ex-president of Franklin College, is the historian 
of the Franklin Baptist church, and his history of the first fifty years of that 
church, printed in the Franklin Jeffersonian in its issue of August 31, 1882, 
is the basis of the following article : 

The history of the Franklin Baptist church begins with the year 1832, 
although it was not until December 17, 184 1, that the church organization 
acquired title to a building site. The Franklin Baptist church is an oflfspring 
of the Blue River Baptist church, and as early as January 23, 1829, a part of 
the Blue River congregation laid plans to found a church in Franklin. Elder 
Chauncey Butler, the father of the founder of Butler University, was the 
moderator at that meeting and the Rev. Samuel Harding, clerk. At that 
time the latter was requested to preach once a month for the church. The first 
organization of the Baptists in Franklin was formed on the thirji Sabbath in 
August, 1832, and the following named were charter members: Simon 
Shafer, Sarah Shafer, John Adams, Jefferson D. Jones, Eleanor Jones, John 
Foster, Eleanor Foster, Simon Hunt, Stephen Tilson, Mary Frary, Catherine 
Bennett, Abraham Stark, John Johns, Martha McDaniel, Mary Tracy, Keziah 

Digitized by 



Tracy, Andrew Vannoy, Rebecca Vannoy and Elizabeth Cravens. The first 

pastor of the church, Elder Samuel Harding, lived near Smiley's Mill in 

Shelby county, Indiana, and came to preach at the Franklin church for the 

ensuing four years. In June, 1836, Elder Byram Lawrence was called to the 

F»astorate and at the same time taught school in the town. He was suspected 

^^f being too friendly toward the doctrines of Alexander Campbell to be 

Entirely acceptable to the Baptists of that day and remained with the church 

only a little more than a year. In October, 1837, the Rev. A. R. Hinkley was 

called to the church and was the most scholarly of the early preachers of 

that day in the county. Hinkley was educated at Waterville College, now 

Colby, and at Newton Theological Seminary, and on coming to Franklin was 

much interested in the P'ranklin Manual Labor Institute, then just beginning. 

During the pastorate of Mr. Hinkley the church first erected a meeting house 

U a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. The building was at that time the 

ie^^rt church house in the town and had few superiors in the state. This 

hot,i^<^ was dedicated on the 28th day of January, 1841. Among the leaders 

of trl^at early church were Prof. A. F. Tilton and Deacon J. A. Dimlap. 

nkley came to the church its membership numbered forty-one, 

t of his death, in 1841, the church had increased to a member- 
ndred. This was the day of much controversy between minis- 
*nt faiths and quite a spirited controversy was maintained 
ess between the Rev. David Monfort, pastor of the Presbyterian 
iv. Mr. Hinkley on the subject of baptism, 
pastor of the church was Elder S. G. Miner, who l)egan preach- 
gmaining just one year, but during this one year one hundred 
I the church. Pastor Miner was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. 
indler, who came from the pastorate of the First church at In- 
accept at the same time the presidency of the college. Dr. 
a native of Maine, a graduate of Madison University and of 
ogical Seminary. It is remembered of him that he was very 
racter and was not inclined to conceal his differences with many 
3 and prejudices of his membership. As an Eastern man, he 
isapproval upon the habits of thought and life, as well as the 
irship of his brethren and sisters from the states of Tennessee 
As Dr. Stott has said of him, he admired backbone, but made 
at many make in supposing that the best backbone consists of 
Dr. Stott mentions one instance. The church had been in 
having the hymns lined out. Pastor Chandler expected his 

Digitized by 



people to sing from books. To make their meaning clear the church at their 
regular business meeting on Saturday voted that the preacher line the hymns: 
On the next morning Pastor Chandler read the resolution and order of the 
church and added: **If you want the hymns lined you get somebody to do it; 
I won't." As a result of Pastor Chandler's somewhat obstinate methods 
division arose in the congregation that later found expression in a separate 
church organization. Dr. Chandler resigned shortly before his resignation 
as president of Franklin College, and he was succeeded by B. C. Moore, or 
possibly John Currier, but no record is left of either of these pastors. Ben- 
jamin Reece was elected pastor in 1850 and continued until August, 185 1, 
when Elder J. C. Post was called to the pastorate. During his pastorate a new 
Baptist church was organized in Franklin, its principal members being those 
connected with Franklin College. Among them were Dr. Bailey, Professor 
Hbugham, Professor Vawter, George W. Grubbs, then a student in the col- 
lege, Professor Brand and Professor Dame. This new church was at great 
,|j^ ; pains to prepare its articles of faith and its church covenant, and President 

,]i Bailey of the college became its first pastor. A Sunday school was also 

begun and all the meetings of the church were held in the college chapel until 
September 16, 1859, when the members all went back to the First Baptist 
church. During these six years that the church was divided the interest in 
this college church to some extent weakened the older organization. Of 
the parent church in the meantime the Rev. E. J. Todd became the pastor in 
1853, preaching there three- fourths of his time at a salary of three hundred 
dollars. He was followed in 1855 by the Rev. J- W. B. Tisdale, who re- 
mained a little more than a year. Rev. E. J. Todd was again called to the 
pastorate and served about one year and he was fallowed by the Rev. J. G. 
Kerr. When the church became reunited President Bailey was engaged as 
pastor at the very liberal salary of five dollars for each Sabbath. Professor 
Ferguson was the leader of the choir and the superintendent of the Sunday 
school. In 1866 one of the church members preferred charges against T>r. 
Bailey for preaching hyper-Calvinism, and the church assembled on June 
i6th to hear the case. The charges were preferred by a Mrs. Lacv, who 
acted as her own attorney and showed considerable spirit at the trial. Dr. 
Bailey was exonerated and the troublesome member was in the September fol- 
lowing arraigned and tried on a charge of staying away from church, for 
want of Christian spirit, for reviling and railing, arid was expelled from* mem- 
, b^rship: In July, 1861, Dr. Bailey resigned and the Rev. J. S. Read was elected 
pastor at a four-hundfed-dollar salary. Prof. Jeremiah Brumback was the next 

Digitized by 



pastor, serving from July, 1863, for one year. The Rev. M. D. Gage was. 
then called in July, 1864, and remained fifteen months. On August 14, 1867, 
the Rev. J. H. Smith was called at a salary of five hundred dollars, with an 
agreement that he be allowed to spend a portion of his time as teacher in the 
private school then being conducted in the college by Prof. William Hill. In 
November, 1868, Rev. I. N. Qark became pastor, remaining with the con- 
gregation until 1 87 1, when the Rev. J. S. Boy den was engaged at a salary 
of twelve hundred dollars. This was up to this time much the largest salary 
ever paid by the church. A year later the Rev. L. D. Robinson was elected 
pastor and given the privilege of preaching once a. month at the Hurricane 
Baptist church. From December, 1876, until February, 1878, the church was 
without a pastor. Services were held regularly, with occasional sermons by 
members of the college faculty, but for the most part the Sunday morning 
service was devoted to a prayer meeting. At the end of that time the Rev. F. 
M. Huckleberry became pastor, but owing to dissension in the church his 
work was greatly weakened and he soon resigned. In October, 1881, the 
Rev. C. S. Scott became church pastor and remained to serve the congregation 
until 1885. The Rev. Albert M. Ogle, of Seymour, was at once called and 
from that date begins a steady march forward in the work of the church.. 
The new church structure was begun in the year 1885, the corner stone being 
laid on August 6th of that year. 

Succeeding Pastor Ogle, the Rev. E. S. Gardiner was called January 
13, 1889, and served until June, 1897. Rev. J. A. Knovvlton was pastor from 
1897 to April 16, 1899; Wallace St. John from March 11, 1900, to May 31, 
1903; F. O. Lamoreux from September 13, 1903, to April 21, 1905; Pleasant 
L. Powell from September 24, 1905, to August 28, 1910. Dr. Henry P. 
Klyver, the present pastor, began his duties October 2, 1910. 

This church maintains a mission at the **North Baptist Church," and 
has an active, enthusiastic membership. The Sunday school, under Jesse C. 
Webb, county superintendent of schools, has an average attendance of two 
hundred and fifty. The church owns a parsonage and is in a good financial 


The Baptist church at Greenwood was constituted on the r7th day of 
July, 1839, by the Rev. T. W. Haynes, wM*th eighteen members, seven of 
whom had been baptized by Mr. Haynes, while eleven held letters of recom- 
mendation from Regular Baptist churches elsewhere. After a sermon by 

Digitized by 


^1 . 1 




M ■ ' 

Mr. Haynes and the giving of the right hand of fellowship by the brethren 
present, principles of faith and rules of decorum were adopted, and under 
the name of *The Regular Baptists of Jesus Christ, at Greenwood," the 
organization was completed. The names of the constituent members were as 
follows: Elder Henry Hunter and wife, Mrs. Nancy Ransdale, Elizabeth 
Smith, Abigail Smith, A. H. Bryan, Mrs. Ann Bryan, Garrett Vandiver and 
wife, M. D. West, John Whitenack, Sr., Addison Wilson and wife, Mrs. 
Abbott, Jesse Weathers, Mrs. Weathers, Miss Ann Vandiver, Mrs. Van 
Dyke and Miss Urey Van Dyke. The first meetings were held in a grove 
near Greenwood, and at one of the earliest business sessions a committee . 
was appointed to circulate a petition for the purpose of raising funds for the 
erection of a house of worship. The necessary steps were taken, but several 
years elapsed before the building was completed. It was finished about the 
year 1844, ^"^ stood a short distance west of the village, on ground now 
included within corporate limits. Rev. Mr. Haynes served as pastor several 
years, and was succeeded by Rev. Thomas S. Townsend, who was called by 
the church in 1844. H. H. Hunter preached at intervals for some years, as 
•did also Rev. J. Brumback, both of whom sustained the pastoral relations. 
About the year 1858 Rev. J. W. B. Tisdale held a series of meetings, the im- 
mediate result of which was the addition of quite a number to the church, 
and a great revival of interest among its members. The next preacher was 
Rev. Mr. Golden, who was followed in a short time by Rev. I. N. Clark, 
whose pastorate extended over a period of three years. Rev. E. S. Riley 
preached at intervals for about ten years, and was succeeded by Rev. R. W. 
Arnold. Following Arnold came Rev. Mr. Keplinger, since whose time the 
church has been served by different pastors, at one time the Rev. C. H. Hall, 
of Franklin College, being pastor. 

Since Prof. C. H. Hall's pastorate the follown'ng have served this church : 
Revs. L. L. Tumey, 1895; T. J. Keith, 1896-1899: J. R. Henry, 1 899-1 902 ; 
H. P. Fudge, 1902; D. R. Landis, 1903-1908; E. M. Martinson, 1908-1911 : 
S. A. Sherman, present pastor. The church now has one hundred and twenty 
members, worshiping in a handsome edifice erected in 1899 at the corner of 
Main and Brewer streets. 


Amity Baptist church was constituted April 10, 1858, Rev. John Vaw- 
ter officiating. The original members were ; Travis Burnett, Milton S. Vaw- 

Digitized by 



ter, James S. Vawtcr, James M. Goldsborough, William Shipp, Harrison Bur- 
nett, William Brown, Mrs. Caroline Shipp, Rozanna Goldsborough, Martha 
E. Armstrong and Caroline Shipp, the majority of whom had formerly be- 
longed to the old Blue River church, in Shelby county, and Mount Pleasant 
congregation, near Trafalgar. James S. Vawter was the first clerk, and in 
1859 he was duly licensed to preach the gospel. The year in which this or- 
ganization was effected witnessed the erection of a large and commodious 
brick temple of worship, thirty-five by sixty feet in size, with a seating 
capacity of about four hundred. 


Mt. Zion Baptist church (Trafalgar) was formally organized on June 8, 
1844, ^t what was known as **School District No. i,'' a short distance from 
the town of Trafalgar, by Elders Reece and Chandler. A council from 
Franklin, Second Mt. Pleasant and First Mt. Pleasant churches, was con- 
vened for the purpose of constituting the organization and, after a sermon 
by Elder Reece, the following persons were formally organized into a Regu- 
lar Baptist church : Frederick Ragsdale, Sarah Ragsdale, Simpson Sturgeon, 
Sarah Sturgeon, William M. Clark, Martha Clark, Annie B. Lee, Mary 
Sturgeon, Absalom Clark, Samuel Sturgeon, Burgess Waggoner and John W. 
Ragsdale. Elder J. Reece was called to the pastorate in 1844, and the same 
year a committee was appointed to select a suitable site for a house of wor- 
ship. The ground chosen was "one acre on the northeast corner of Steth 
Daniers land/' and in October, 1845,' a frame building, thirty by forty feet in 
size, was decided upon by the committee. The house was not erected until 
some time later. It was a frame structure and answered the purpose for 
which it was intended until 1866, at which time a new building in the village 
of Trafalgar was erected. This house was in size thirty-six by fifty feet and 
was built at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. 


First Mt. Pleasant (Franklin township), one of the oldest Baptist 
churches in Johnson county, was constituted July, 1828. The following were 
among its earliest members: Henry Byers, Elizabeth Byers, Peter Zook, 
Margaret Zook, Seaton Beadles, John Gashwiler, John Brunk, Aaron Mit- 
chell, Nolly Kilboum, Maria Vaughn, James P. Beadles, Lamenta Beadles. 
Elizabeth Zook, Polly Helms, George Burkhardt, Elizabeth Burkhardt. Sarah 

Digitized by 



(Byers) Leach, Benetta Beadles, George P. Bartlett, Thomas Bartlett, Nancy 
Roberts, Francis Elliott, George Bridges, Polly Harbert and Abraham Brunk. 
One of the first preachers was Rev. John Reece, who held meetings in a little 
log school house which stood a short distance from the present church build- 
ing. About the year 1837, or perhaps a little earlier, dissensions arose in 
the church between the conservative and progressive or missionary elements, 
the result of which was a division of the congregation. In May, 1838, the 
difficulty was partially adjusted by a reorganization under the original name, 
since which time the society has been known as a Missionary Baptist church. 
The reorganization was brought about by the efforts of Rev. A. R. Hinkley. 
The first house of worship was a log structure erected many years ago and 
used until the building of the present edifice. The present church is brick, 
well finished and furnished, and stands about five miles southwest of Franklin 
on the Martinsville turnpike. 


The Second Mt. Pleasant Baptist church, which is near the Shelby county 
line in Needham township, was organized on July 11, 1835, with eight mem- 
bers. Five more united with the church before the close of that year. . Meet- 
ings were held in private residences and school houses for some time, when 
the first church building was erected, which was a frame structure built in 
1836. This was a fair building and answered the purposes for w^hich it was 
intended until the year 1865, when the present brick building was erected. 
The following is a list of the pastors and their terms of service : B. Reece, 
1835-1853; I. Gleason, 1854-1855; John Reece, 1855-1857; D. J. Hunter, 
1857-1858; W. Golding, 1858-1859; E. J. Todd, 1859-1861 ; C. Blood. 1861- 
1864; I. N. Clark, 1864-1869; A. C. Edwards, 1869-1872; R. M. Parks, 
1872-1873; John Reece, 1 873- 1 876; I. W. Hammack, 1876-1877! J. W. 
Ragsdale, 1877-1879; W. T. Jolly, 1879-1882; L. E. Duncan, 1882-1883; 
F. M. Huckleberry, 1883-1884; G. H. Elgin, 1884-1886: W. T. Vancleve, 
1886-887: P. O. Duncan, 1887-1901 : John G. York, 1902-1903: I. M. Flem- 
ing, 1903-1904; E. T. Carter, 1905-1906: F. M. Huckleberry, 1906-1907; I. 
F. Huckleberry, 1907-1910; O. A. Cook, 1910- 


Hurricane Baptist church (Clark township) was organized about the year 
1840 or 1841 as a branch of the Franklin congregation and continued as such 

Digitized by 



for about three years, when it was constituted an independent organization. 
The following were among the earlier members: Stephen Tilson, Lemuel 
Tilson and wife, James Tilson and wife, Mrs. John Brown, John White- 
sides, Even Barnett and wife, Conrad McClain and wife and James White- 
sides and wife. The organization was effected by the Rev. Benjamin Reece, 
who preached for several years thereafter, holding meetings in the old log 
building known as Friendship church. Later, about the yeaf 1851, a frame 
building was erected on the ground where the old house stood and served the 
purposes of a place of worship until the growth of the congregation made 
the erection of a larger house a necessity. In 1879 the present handsome 
temple, a brick edifice, representing a capital of three thousand two hundred 
dollars, was erected. The following as a list of the pastors of Hurricane 
church. Revs. Benjamin Reece, John Reece. Miner and Todd, who were 
pastors prior to 1861. Since 1861 — ^J. L. Irwin, 1861 ; Caleb Blood, 1862; 
Q. N. Qark, 1863; John W. Ragsdale, 1865; M. D. Gage, 1865; F- Moro, 
1866; A. J. Essex, 1867; L. D. Robinson, 1872; G. H. Elgin, 1874; J. R. 
Edwards, 1875; J^^n W. Ragsdale, 1877; Charles Boaz, 1879; in May, 1880, 
Columbus H. Hall, professor of Greek in Franklin College, was called to the 
pastorate and he has served the church continuously since. 


This church is located in the northwest corner of Hensley township 
and was organized in 1867 in the "Old Log Church,'* a quarter of a mile 
west of the present church edifice, which is three miles west of Trafalgar, and 
appears to have been the outgrowth of the Primitive and Separate Baptist 
churches, organizations of which denominations . were founded in the neigh- 
borhood prior to the Civil war. The following is a list of the pastors : J. W. 
Ragsdale, 1867-1872; J. M. Barrow, 1872-1879; J. W. Ragsdale, 1879-1882; 
J. M. Barrow, 1882^1887: E. E. Stewart, 1887- 1889; F- A. Aspey, 1889- 

1891 ; F. G. Gather, 1891-1893 ; F. A. Aspey, 1894- ; George F. Ragsdale, 

1895-1899; W. G. Everson, 1899-1903; C. H. Hall, 1903-1905; W. Hen- 
drickson, 1905-1906; C. A. Wade, 1906-1909; H. C. Merrill, 1909-1910; 
J. I. Slater, 1910-1911; J. G. Brengle, 1911-1913. The church property is 
valued at twenty-two thousand dollars and is in good repair. The church 
maintains a good Sunday school and also a Ladies' Aid Society. 

Digitized by 






This church was organized in August, 1871, at the home of George 
Young on East Monroe street with a membership of nine members. Services 
were held in the old academy building. From there to the Union Hall on 
East Court street, now the Durbin building. From there to West Madison 
street, the property now owned by George Robinson; from there to East 
Monroe street, in property owned by Samuel Dirty; from there to Madison 
and West streets, its present location. The church property is valued at 
seven thousand dollars. A Baptist Young People's Union is maintained, also 
home and foreign missionary societies. 

The following is a list of the pastors and their term of service : William 
Singleton, 1871-1872; Thomas Robinson, 1872-1874; E. E. Tyler, 1874-1880; 
George Smith, 1 880-1 881 ; D. S. Slaughter, 1881-1882; W. P. Thornton, 
1882-1883; S. C. Manuel, 1883-1885; C. C. Louis, 1885-1888: Henry Polk, 
1888-1889; P. P. Hollins, 1889-1890; F. P. Green, 1890-1893; Alexander 
Smith, 1893-1894: C. H. Duvall, 1894-1900; G. N. Thompson, 1900-1901 ; 
H. Smith, 1901-1902; W. H. Patterson, 1902-1910; R. D. Leonard, 1910- 
191 2. In April, 191 2, Samuel Howard was called to the pastorate and is 
still serving the congregation. 


This church was organized in t\}t fall of 1881 by Rev. John R. Miller, 
with the following constituent members: Henry Gooden and wife. Esther 
Canady, Thomas E. Hill, Mrs. Hill, George Quinn, David Beeler and wife, 
David Johnson and wife, Elizabeth Gooden, Letitia Lee and Elizabeth John- 
son. Rev. A. R. Miller served as pastor four years and was succeeded by 
Rev. Mr. Walker, who preached one year. Then came Rev. David Slaughter. 

The building used by the church was erected a short time before the 
organization went into effect. It is a substantial frame edifice and will 
comfortably .seat a congregation of three hundred persons. 


This church is located in Nineveh township and was organized in the 
year 1836. Among the early members were the following: Aaron Hen- 
dricks, Merida Wilkerson, Separate Hendricks, Susan Hendricks and Nancy 

Digitized by 



Handy. The church building was erected about 1839 and rebuilt in 1850. * 
In the latter year there was a good membership, about one hundred, but 
since then the number has greatly decreased. The following were among the 
pastors of this church: Samuel Randolph, Jariah Randolph, James Mc- 
Queen, Joshua McQueen, Pond and Asa Dowd. 


This church became a mission of Emanuel Baptist church of Indianapo- 
lis, then under the pastorate of Rev. J. R. Henry, February, 1905. One year 
later the organization of the Whiteland Baptist church was effected, and the 
following officers were chosen: Qerk, Bertram Brown; church treasurer, 
R. A. Roberson. In January, 1906, John M. Phipps, J. I. Scott, George W. 
Veath and J. F. Smiley were elected trustees. Rev. Truman was called to the 
pastorate in February, 1905, and resigned on July 11, 1905. In November, 
1905, Rev. Hamilton was called to the pastorate and began work in Decem- 
ber, resigning in August, 1906. The church was pastorless until the spring 
of 1907, when Rev. T. A. Child was called and continued in this service three 
years and six months. The church had occasional supplies until September, 
191 1, when Rev. Childs was again called to the pastorate and still continues 
his labors. 

In 1905 the Methodist Episcopal church of Whiteland built a beautiful 
brick structure and their former church building was purchased by the Bap- 
tists and refitted. It is a very respectable church home and serves its purpose 
well. It is valued at twenty-five hundred dollars and in size is thirty by 
forty-five by eighteen feet, will seat two hundred persons and is supplied 
with comfortable furniture, also a piano. The church maintains a Sunday 
school, Ladies' Missionary Circle, Ladies' Aid Society and prayer meeting. 
The present clerk is Archie Pierce and the treasurer is C. M. Durham, who is 
also superintendent of the Sunday school. 


As noted elsewhere, this church, then known as the Bethel Regular Bap- 
tist church, was organized in the thirties, obtaining a church site from Zelek 
McQuinn on the 25th day of May, 1839. I^ ^s located five miles south of 
Franklin on the Franklin and Nineveh road, and has a substantial brick 
house of worship. It is the strongest and best known church of the Primitive 

Digitized by 



Baptist faith in the county and, while not numerically strong, its membership 
is zealous and faithful. 

Among its pastors have been Elders Riley Knowles, Asa Nay, Willett 
Tyler, Peterson K. Parr ^nd Isaac Sawin. For the past twelve years Elder 
I^wrence Reagan has preached acceptably. 


This church is located in Hensley township, and was organized a number 

of years ago and is now one of the oldest religious societies in the southern 

part of the county. Of its early history but little is known save that the 

Bass, Roberts, Hensley, Davenport, McNutt, Holman and Hughes families 

were among the first members. The organization was brought about by the 

labors of Elder Hiram T. Craig, a preacher of fine ability. He preached for 

the Bethlehem congregation a number of years. The first house of worship 

i| was a log structure which stood near w^here the present one now stands. It 

lI was used several years, but finally gave place to the frame building in which 

.;» the congregation now meets. The society is not as strong in numbers as in 

t;' the early days of its history, having lost quite a number of its members in 

l\i recent years by deaths or removals. Services are still held in the church 

building and the present membership is very small. 


This church was located in Union township and was organized April, 
1836, at a school house near the present site of Trafalgar. The following 
were among the first members : Thomas Sturgeon and wife, Simpson Stur- 
geon and wife, William Clark and wife, Frederick Ragsdale and wife, Henry 
Musselman and wife, Jane Forsyth, Jane Allen and Mary Catlett. Frederick 
Ragsdale was the first moderator and J. R. Callihan first clerk. For a num- 
ber of years Rev. Asa B. Nay ministered to the congregation and much of its 
success was due to his efforts. Revs. Ransom Riggs and William Tyler 
preached for the church at different times. School houses and dwellings were 
used for meeting places until about the year 1845, ^^ which time a frame 
temple of worship was erected in Union tow^nship, section 25. The building 
was afterward improved and is still used by the congregation, which has a 
membership of about twenty-five. Elder Robert Thompson has been acting 
as supply for several years. 

Digitized by 


johnson county, indiana. 351 

stott's creek baptist (old school). 

Some time in the thirties there was erected in section lo, near the present 
site of Union village, a log building which served as a place of worship for 
several denominations. In this house what is known as Stott's Creek Bap- 
tist church (Old School) was organized over sixty years ago. The following 
are the names of a few of the early members of the organization : Bennett 
Jacobs and wife, Austin Jacobs and wife, William Burkhardt and wife, 
David Vidito and wife, James Jacobs and wife, William Utterback and 
wife and Andrew Wysick and wife. Elder Bennett Jacobs was an early 
minister, Hiram Craig and Enoch Tabor preached for the congregation, as 
did others whose names are not now remembered. The building in which the 
congregation worshiped for many years was a small frame structure near 
Union village, erected about the year 1856 or 1857. The society was never 
strong numerically and the organization has been disbanded. 


The first authentic history of the Franklin Christian church dates back 
to the year 1846, when a small band of disciples met at the home of Sister 
Herriott Henderson for the first time and Brother Elijah Goodwin was in- 
vited to visit them and arrangements were made to hold a series of meetings 
in the old court house, which resulted in much good, encouraging the little 
band to stand by the principles underlying the Restoration movement. Prior 
to this William Irwin and William Keaton did valuable service*; in preaching 
the gospel in this vicinity. 

In 1847, through the kindness and invitation of the Baptist denomina- 
tion, the Christians held meetings at stated intervals in the Baptist church for 
one year. But as the little band began to make inroads into the community 
they were compelled to give up worshiping in the Baptist church and return 
to the court house. In the meantime George and Jesse Brahani, with their 
families, moved to Franklin from Vernon, Indiana, accompanied by John B. 
Cobb, who rendered valuable service in the early days of the church. Elder 
Goodwin was again called and a second series of meetings resulted in the first 
organization of the church. The following account is taken from early 
records : 

"Franklin, Indiana, July 3, 1848. 

"We, the undersigned members of the Church of Christ, residing in and 

Digitized by 



near the town of Franklin, Johnson county, Indiana, agree and do now enter 
into the organization of a church for the purpose of keeping the ordinances of 
the Lord's house, to be known as the Church of Christ in Franklin, and that 
we may grow* in grace and the knowledge of the truth, we will meet for 
public worship as often as circumstances wall permit, not having any place 
of public worship of our own. Signed : 

"John B. Cobb, W. M. Bridges, 

'* Horatio Jones, John McCoule, 

''John W. Parrish, Rhoda Koyle, 

"Elizabeth Howard, Nancy Jones, 

"Mary Bran ham, Mary E. Branham, 

"Lucretia Branham, J. N. Branham, 

"William Koyle, Sanderson Howard, 

"Herriott Henderson, Mary Palmer, 

"Mary Bridges, Elizabeth Bridges, 

"Catora Chenoworth, Eliza Howard, 

"George W. Branham, Elizabeth Hague/' 

John B. Cobb and G. W. Branham were elected elders and W. M. 
Bridges and Jesse V. Branham were elected deacons. John B. Cobb, now 
of Columbus. Indiana, is the only living charter member of this church so far 
as known. 

A daughter of Brother Branham is supposed to be living in Minnesota. 
She united with the church at the organization meeting. 

During the summer of 1848, when the organization was perfected, the 
New School Presbyterians owned the building now occupied by the Catholics, 
at Home avenue and Wayne street, and this house was secured when no 
meetings were held by them. John B. Cobb was called to preach for the 
church at a salary of three hundred dollars per year. He continued as pastor 
until 1 85 1, when inroads were being made on the Presbyterians and the 
Disciples were forced to abandon this place of worship. 

The court house in the meantime having been destroyed by fire, this 
little band of undaunted disciples found themselves wholly without a place 
of )Vorship. At this time George and Jesse Branham, charter members, 
erected a two-story brick building on the northeast corner of Water and 
Jefferson streets, and when completed, in March, 1852, deeded the upper 
room to the board of trustees, elected by the church, to be held by them so 
long as used for church purposes. During this time Elder Henry R. 

Digitized by 



from Coltunbus, Indiana, and held a meeting^ 
lis to the church. Elder J. L. Jones in 1852 serv 
!^obb had resigned. Brother Jones was followed 
^r, who continued to preach for the church until 

During the pastorate of Brother Miller, Alexj 

new church and, as the room was too small, 1 
t new court house, Alexander Campbell preachin 
aac Errett, founder of the Christian Standard, 
f at night. In April, 1859, J. J. Moss began hi 
inued until May, i860. It was during his pasto 
is held with Col. Samuel P. Oyler upon the subj 
anuary, 1862, Elder John C. Miller held a series 
urteen accessions to the church. A call was 

but he declined, preferring to work with the 1 
)ther charges, which he did until he fell asleep ii 

In December, 1863, John B. New and O. A. ! 
vices, resulting in nine accessions. January, 181 
V, now of St. Louis, Missouri, began his first pc 
itinuing until 1866. H. T. Buff served the chui 
; times, from 1867 to 1870. From 1870 to 187 
[>f Mr. Davis, but resulted in little good being a 
72, Live H. Jameson, the ''sweet singer,'' was call 
w months. He was followed by W. F. Parker, ( 

remained less than a year. These short pastora 
- James Land, of Hamilton, Ohio, who began 
the church until 1875. It was during his mini: 

was erected on the southeast corner of Yandes ; 

Bronson, having fallen heir to a large sum, stai 
5ix thousand dollars, and Ebenezer Baldwin, ow 
te the lot, valued at twelve hundred dollars, an< 
money, providing the building was erected on tht 
ted and the building committee was composed o 
Payne and John T. Vawter, all large givers to 
^as erected at a cost of eighteen thousand doll; 
)ril, 1874. The room at Water and Jefferson st: 
1 for church purposes, it reverted to the owners 
msideration on April g, 1876. 

Digitized by 







Thus pa^^sed into history the first church building of this congregation 
and the history of the second building was begun. On October i, 1875, Elder 
E. L. Frazier, of Marion, Indiana, began as pastor and continued until De- 
cember 31, 1881. This was the longest pastorate in the history of the church 
and its greatest growth to that time was obtained, two hundred and seventy- 
five having united. Elder John C. Miller, of Nineveh, Indiana, and Evan- 
gelist Robert T. Matthews held successful meetings. In 1882 Elder A. W. 
Connor preached for nearly a 'year. He resigned to attend Butler College. 
The next call was extended in January, 1884, to Elder Samuel F. Fowler. 
His pastorate is next to Elder Frazier's in point of duration, remaining until 
the fall of 1888. During his ministry over two hundred united with the 
church. On June 15, 1885, during a severe storm, the church was struck by 
lightning and destroyed by fire, only the walls remained standing. It was 
rebuilt at once at a cost of five thousand dollars. The building was in charge 
of Dr. James Richardson, Nelson Richardson and John T. Vawter, commit- 
tee. Elder H. H. Nesslage was pastor from 1889 until the close of 1890. 
During the pastorate the Christian Endeavor Society was organized. George 
E. Piatt was pastor in 1891, followed by Thomas M. Wiles, 1891 to 1893. 
Elder xAmzi Atwater, of Bloomington, Indiana, accepted a call in 1893 ^^^ 
remained until the fall of 1895. During his pastorate the Christian Endeavor 
library was established. Elder J. S. Ashley was pastor part of 1895 *'^"^^ 
1896. and J. Z. Armstrong from the fall of 1896 to the summef of 1897. 
October i. 1897, Elder Charles R. Hudson was called to the pastorate and 
continued as such to July, 1903. 

Since the church was established in 1848 eight of her sons have entered 
the ministry and today are preaching God's word. They are Wiley Acknian, 
Wesley Vandiver, L. E. Sellers, Robert Sellers, Harvey McKane. W. G. 
McCauley, Thomas Mavity and Edgar F. Daugherty. 

During the pastorate of Brother Hudson, from October, 1897, to July. 
1903, three hundred and forty-five persons were received into the church, the 
greatest in its history in point of membership. He solemnized seventy-one 
marriages, conducted one hundred and two funerals and inculcated the spirit 
of work within the church. Three successful revivals were held by Brother 
Hudson, the last one was from January 6th to 31st, inclusive, 1902, when 
one hundred and fifty-one persons united with the church, through the match- 
less teaching and pleading of the grand and eloquent servant. Elder Victor W. 
Dorris, of Georgetown, Kentucky, who assisted Brother Hudson. 

The membership of the church having grown to over eight hundred 

Digitized by 



souls, a nevv house of worship was inaugurated. Sunday, June 2, 1901, at a 
regular meeting of the official board the following resolution w as unanimous- 
ly adopted : 

**First, that the lx)ard take steps at once toward the erection of a new 
Christian church building in Franklin. Indiana, amended that the building 
be centrally located. 

**Second, that Lord's day, June 9, 1901, be set apart as rally day for the 
new church and that Brother Z. T. Sweeney: of Columbus, Indiana, be in- 
vited to be present and address the meeting on the occasion.*' 

The following meml)ers were appointed soliciting committee: Dr. H. J. 
Hall, \V. V. King, (leorge 1. White, Samuel Harris, H. M. Fisher, Samuel 
C. Yager, H. C. Barnett, J. M. Coble and James L. Vawter. At this rally- 
day meeting Brother Sw-eeney secured the sum of fourteen thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-five dollars. After this meeting of June 9, 1901, the 
committee on location of new church was composed of Samuel Harris, 
George I. White and Henry C. Barnett. The finance committee was Dr. 
H. J. riall, John W. Terman, H. M. Fisher, James R. Iteming and Will 
Featherngill. The building committee was W. V. King, chairman ; Dr. H. J. 
Hall, H. C. Barnett, Frank Garshwiler, Samuel Harris and Charles R. Hud- 
son, secretary. The committee on location secured the '^Hamilton lot" on the 
southwest corner of Water and King streets, in August. Ji)0}, for three 
thousand three hundred dollars. The lot was cleared of buildings and bids 
were advertised for on plans and specifications prepared by Messrs. Harris 
& Shopbell, of Evansville. Indiana. The contract for the new building was 
awarded to Cieorge Anderson, of Martinsville. Indiana. Ground was broken 
on Tuesday, December 3, 1901, appropriate exercises Ijeing conducted by the 
pastor, assisted by the other city ministers. The first shovel full of dirt was 
removed by Barnard Peter, the oldest meml)er of the church and a life-time 
elder ; the second by Miss Margaret Jones, aged thirteen, the youngest mem- 
ber of the church. In March, 1902, work began on the nevv building and on 
the 8th day of July, 1902, the corner stone was laid with appropriate exer- 

The new building was completed the last of June and dedicated Sunday, 
July 5, 1903. It is constructed with blue limestone foundation, buff^ Bed- 
ford stone wall, trimmed in Kentucky white limestone. The style is the old 
Spanish mission, revised, Gothic in design. Two tablets have been placed at 
the entrance : "Christ, the Only Creed,'' on the left : "That Ye All May Be 
One," upon the right. The auditorium is seated with circular pews to ac- 

Digitized by 








commodate five hundred people, is octagonal, with pulpit, organ and choir 
in the corner. It has been decorated in the most artistic style by B. F. 
Harris, of .Union City, Indiana, and Daniel Stewart & Company, of Indian- 
apolis, glaziers. It contains four pictures, setting forth the four phases of 
the Qirist life, worked out in art glass and painted on canvas. The first, 
**Christ Among the Doctors,'' by Hoffman, has been placed as a memorial 
of Hugh Mullendore, and represents the growth life of the Christ; the sec- 
ond, "The Good Shepherd," by Plockhurst, represents the working life of 
Christ; the third, Hoffman's "Gethsemane," represents the suffering Christ; 
the fourth, "The Ascension," by Bierman, represents the glorified Messiah 
who reigns as Head over the church, filling the church with his spirit and the 
church filling the world. 

The chapel is equipped for work, being surrounded by two parlor^, thir- 
teen class rooms, toilet rooms, reading rooms, robing rooms and hallwayss. 
.The pastor's study is at the comer of the auditorium, convenient to the pub- 
lic. The basement contains corridor, ladies' sewing room, dining room and 
kitchen, with furnace and fuel rooms to meet all demands. 

Almost the entire first floor space and galleries can be used for the 
auditorium and will seat about twelve hundred; all at a cost of near twenty- 
five thousand dollars. 

Brother Hudson remained with the church as pastor until November, 

1904, when he resigned to become minister of the Christian church at Frank- 
fort, Kentucky, in January, 1905. A call was extended to Rev. Harry 
Granison Hill to become supply minister in January, 1905. During Brother 
Hill's pastorate a permanent call was extended to him to become resident 
minister, but as he had just completed a new home at Irvington, Indiana, he 
was unwilling to remove to Franklin. lie resigned at the close of September, 

1905, and a call was extended to Rev. Robert E. Moss, of Maysville, Ken- 
tucky, in October, 1905. 

During Brother Moss's pastorate a revival was held by Rev. L. E. 
Sellers, of Terre Haute, Indiana, when over ninety persons united with the 
church. Rev. Moss remained pastor of the church until October, 1908, when 
he accepted a call to Murfreestero, Tennessee. A new church was just estab- 
lished there and he became its first minister. The local pulpit remained 
vacant until February, 1909, when a call was accepted by Dr. Menlo B. 
Ainsworth, of Danville, Illinois, to become pastor at a salary the largest in 
the history of the church. During his three years' pastorate the Sunday 
school was thoroughly organized and the attendance more than doubled. 

Digitized by 



There were four hundred and sixty persons added to the member 
two hundred of whom united during a meeting held in a tempoi 
nacle at Home avenue and Wayne street by Rev. Charles Reign 
September, 1909. In response to Dr. Ainsworth's strong appeals 
became a "Living Link" in the American Missionary Society and 
gave liberally to the missionary and benevolent interests of the ch 
power of spiritual discernment was very much developed and he ( 
with great power the spiritual elements of the Christian religion 
held in the highest esteem both in the Christian churches of the c< 
by all the denominations of the city for his ability and Christian 
Upon leaving Franklin in February, 191 2, he accepted a call tc 
Christian church at Georgetown, Kentucky, where lie is now Ic 
May. 1912, Rev. W. J. Wright, of Enid. Oklahoma, became past< 
continued as such to the present time (September, 1913). The 
the official board are Henry C. Bamett, president ; James V. Deer, 
dent ; Livy A. Young, treasurer, and Robert W. Wilson, clerk. T 
membership of the church is about eight hundred seventy-five. 


the first attempt to establish a Christian church in Edinburg 

in 1834, although traveling ministers had visited the village a 

Pi"evious to that date and held meetings in the houses of the fev 

^ tl^t town and vicinity. Among these early preachers are re 

.A^^^^Ts William Irvin, J. Fawcett and James M. Mathes. under w 

^^^^<z>x-s, on the 23d day of February of the above year, a small or 

csi,*^ effected, with the following members: Gavin Mitchell, Rel 

cb.^11 • David McCoy. C. McCoy. J. W. Dupree. Thomas W. 

VAiz-^beth Thrailkeld, Abram Dupree and Hannah Dupree. Of 

Vitt:!^ band, none are now living. The society held its first meeti 

residences of the different members, and later obtained the use of 

i^^ff erected by the Edinburg Benevolent Association in 1834. Here 

"^^t snd prospered until 1845, ^^ which time the increasing grc 

^Aa.clc:>wed the necessity of a building of larger proportions. Acco 

^*^^t vear, a movement was inaugurated to erect a house of worsli 

^^^Hisive use of the congregation. A lot on Walnut street was 

^nd a. frame house, forty by fifty feet, erected. At the close of 1834 

^'"sHip of the society numbered twenty-two, and among the additic 

y^ar -vvere the Thompsons, Rnowltons, Waylands, Smiths, Vaughn 

Digitized by 



? ■ ' 1 

i {j, 

< I 





ers, whose names cannot be recalled. In 1846 Abram Dupree was licensed to 
preach the gospel, and for that year the records show a membership of one 
hundred and ninety-eight. 

For a number of years after its organization the church was minis- 
tered to in vyord and doctrine by Abram Dupree, William Irvin and William 
Oldham. Frorii 1834 until 1870 the church enjoyed the labors of twenty- 
eight transient preachers. The first regular pastor appears to have been 
Elder B. K. Smith, who began his labors in 1852 and served one year. Fol- 
lowing him, in the order named, came J. R. Frame, Knowles Shaw, D. H. 
Gary, T. J. Tomlinson, R. T. Brown, J. F. Sloan, W. L. Germane, W. T. 
Sellers, William Hough, A. W. Conner, W. W. Carter, E. W. Darst, J. H. O. 
Smith, N. S. McCallum, Elder P. S. Rhodes. 

In 1886 a new building was commenced on that part of the lot lying 
south of the old house, which covers an area of ninety by sixty feet, and the 
ceiling of the auditorium is twenty-eight feet high. The Sunday school room 
in front will seat three hundred, the gallery one hundred, and when all the 
rooms are thrown together, which can be easily done, a congregation of eight 
hundred persons can l>e conveniently accommodated. The aggregate cost of 
the structure was about eighteen thousand five hundred dollars. Not the 
least among the potent working forces of the church is the Eureka Aid So- 
ciety, organized December 8, 1883, *or the ostensible purpose of raising 
funds for furnishing or assisting in furnishing the new of worship. 
The ladies deserve great credit for their untiring efforts in behalf of the 

This church has a handsome brick parsonage on the north of the church 
valued at three thousand dollars. In its church work its meml^ers are active 
and progressive, having Young People's Societies of Chri.stian Endeavor, 
both senior and junior; a Women's Christian Board of Missions Society, and 
an athletic society for boys. The Bible school is strictly up-to-date in its 
methods. The list of ministers serving the Edinburg church since 1889 is as 
follows : Matthew Small, 1889-1895 ; Earle Wilfrey, 1895-1896: T. J. Shuey. 
T896-1898: S. W. Brown. 1898-1900: D. R. Lucas, 1901 ; L. Q. Mercer. 
1901-1903; Matthew Small, 1904; Thomas H. Adams, 1905-1908: George 
W. Sweeney, 1908-1912: and William Grant Smith, the present pastor, who 
was called in October, 191 2. 

Digitized by 




Among the early settlers of the vicinity of Williamsburg was Elder 
William Irvvin, a Baptist minister, who, having been convinced of the cor- 
rectness of the views promulgated by Alexander Campbell, went into the cur- 
rent Reformation, and in the spring of 1831 was instrumental in organizing a 
small congregation. Among the earliest members of this society were Will- 
iam Keeton and family, Alonzo Gale and family, Aaron Dunham and family, 
Jeremiah Dunham, Emily White, Richard Gonsey and family, John Prime 
and wife, John Elliott and wife, Milton McQuade and wife, John Wilkes and 
wife, and David Dunham and wife, the majority of whom had belonged pre- 
viously to the Baptist church. Elder Irwin is remembered as a man of emi- 
nent social qualities and a good preacher. Under his ministrations the little 
band of worshipers soon increased until a house of worship was necessary. 
Accordingly, a small log building was erected a year or two later, about a 
quarter of a mile northwest of the present site of the town. It answered the 
two-fold purpose of church and school house, and was used until about the 
year 1840, at which time the place of meeting was changed to Williamsburg, 
where a more commodious frame structure was erected. In the early years 
of its history the society enjoyed the ministerial lalx>rs of Elders Irwin and 
Joseph Fawcett, the latter a learned and logical preacher. Elders John L. 
Jones, J. M. Mathes, Aaron Hubbard, Asa Holingsworth and Hardin Watson 
visited the congregation at intervals, and in the meantime Elan Richard Gon- 
sey, a local evangelist, preached for the church, when not similarly employed 
in other fields. Since 1850. the congregation has been ministered to by differ- 
ent pastors of the faith. The brick temple of worship now in use was erected 
in i860, at a cost of al)out three thousand dollars. It stands in the southeas- 
em part of the village and is one of the best churches in the county. 


This church is the successor of an old society which was organized a 
short di.stance north of the town in Marion county, as early as 1838 or 1839. 
In the fall of 1837, George Shortridge moved to the locality from Wayne 
county and, being a devoted member of the church, soon induced preachers to 
visit the neighborhood and hold public services in his dwelling and barn. In 
order to build up a serviceable church of his own choice, Mr. Shortridge, about 
the year 1840 or 1842, erected a small house of worship on his farm, in which 

Digitized by 








an organization was soon effected. Among the earliest members of this 
society, were Mr. Shortridge, Charles Robinson and family, James Webb and 
wife, and a few others, whose names have been forgotten. Services were 
held regularly for several years, by Elders L. H. Jameson, Asa Holingsworth 
and other pioneer ministers of the Reformation, but owing to the unsettled 
conditions of the early residents of the community, many of whom were 
transients, the society soon lost the majority of its members and was in course 
of time abandoned. Early in the fifties, exact date unknown, a society was 
organized in Greenwood, with which several of the members of the old church 
at once became identified. Among the early members of the Greenwood 
society were the following: William Blake and wife, Joseph Harmon and 
wife, John Shortridge and wife, George Oldaker and wife, Edward Pate and 
wife, James Pate, Simeon Frazier and wife, Mrs. James Stewart and Hugh 
A. Morris. The village school house had been purchased a short time pre- 
vious and fitted up for church purposes, and it was in this building that the 
organization took place. The school house was used as a meeting place for 
several years, but the constantly increasing congregation made the erection of 
a building of enlarged proportions, necessary. Accordingly a lot in Dobbins' 
addition was donated by Dr. Guthree, and within a short time thereafter a 
brick temple of worship was erected at a cost of four thousand five hundred 
dollars. The church has enjoyed the labors of a number of able ministers. 
The first elders of the church were Hugh A. Myers, William Blake and 
Joseph Harmon. 


The early history of the Trafalgar Christian church is enveloped in con- 
siderable obscurity. From the most reliable information it appears that 
services were held at the residence of Thomas Lynam as early as 1848, and 
among the first members were the Lynam, Watkins, Duckworth and Thomp- 
son families. Henry Branch, Benjamin Branch, William Clark, E. Clark, 
Absalom Clark, w ith others, became members in a very early day also. Elders 
Thomas Lynam and Asa Holingsworth did the first preaching for the congre- 
gation. A small log building, with ohe door and a single window, was erected 
about 1849 o^ 1850. It stood about one mile southwest of the village on 
Indian creek, and was used by the congregation until replaced by a frame 
structure a few years later. The second building stood a short distance south 
of the present house of worship, and answered the purposes for which it was 
intended until about the year 1870. For a number of years the organization 

Digitized by 



was known as the Hensley Town Christian church, and among the members 
in i860 were the following: George Duckworth, Thomas Gillaspy, G. T. 
Bridges, Jerry Dunham, Thomas Lynam, Nancy E. Lynam, Eliza H. Lynam, 
Matilda M. Lynam, James S. Lynam, Thomas O. Lynam and Johp D. Lynam. 
The present house of worship is a frame building, erected about 1870, in size 
is thirty-five by forty-four feet and was erected at a cost of fourteen hundred 

Since 1890, the following have ministered to the church at Trafalgar: 
John C. Miller, C. A. Stephens, Prof. Garvin, J. C. Ashley, Rev. Creighton, 
C. A. Johnson, Jabez Hall (1902 and 1905), J. W. Carpenter (1903 and 
1904), I. N. Grisso (1906 and 1907), B. F. Dailey (1908 to 1911), C. R. 
Bulgin (1911), W. C. Morro (1912), and C. H. Scriven (1913). 


This church is located in Nineveh township and was organized on June 
12, 1853, Elder Richard Gosney officiating. The organization was the out- 
growth of a series of meetings conducted by Elder Asa Holingsworth, during 
the progress of which a great religious awakening was experienced, resulting 
in the conversions of over thirty persons. The organization was effected 
with the following members: Clark Tucker, Sr., Margaret Tucker, Lydia 
Tucker, George Hargan, Benjamin Branch, Matilda Branch, Susan Branch, 
Mary Sattewhite, Henry Branch, Sarah A. Branch, Francis Branch, Delia M. 
Tucker, John H. Featherngill, Martha J. Feathemgill, Thomas Branigin, 
Paulina Branigin, James Kimberlin, George F. Feathemgill, George Huston, 
Emily Beadles, James Townsend, John Morgan, James Lawhorn, Sarah 
Kerby, Joseph Lee, Sarah Duckworth, Mary A. Huston, Sarah J. Hunter, 
Samuel Brown, Mary G. Brown, Parthena Tucker, Loven G. Pritchard and 
Nancy Pritchard. The first church officers were Benjamin Branch, elder: 
Thomas Tucker and D. F. Featherngill, deacons. Meetings were first held 
in a log school house, but soon after the organization a frame building was 
erected on land donated for the purpose near the line of Franklin and Nineveh 
townships. This was a substantial edifice, thirty by forty f^et in size, and 
served as a place of worship until 1869. In the year the present handsome 
brick stnicture was built at a cost of nine thousand dollars. It is a two-story 
building, forty by sixty feet. 

Digitized by 
















This chiirch was organized in what was known as the Leatherwood school 
house, about one mile north of Clarksburg, on the 14th day of April, 1846, 
by Elder Love H. Jameson, of Indianapolis. The charter members were C. 
G. Dungan and wife, John Irwin and wife, David C. Mitchell and wife, Joseph 
Dupree and wife, John Eastburn and wife, L. M. Dupree and wife, Moses F. 
Clark and wife, Robert Ross and wife, Oliver Harbert and wife, John Harb- 
ert and wife, Richard Harbert and wife, Stephen Tinker and wife, John W. 
Curry and wife, James Williams and wife, Silas Breeding and wife, John J. 
Dungan and wife, R. B. Green and wife, Thomas Parttock and wife, Joseph 
Irwin, James Tinker, Amos Williams, Parens Harbert, Mary A. Parttock, 
Hisler A. Green and Father Harbert. The first officers were as follows: 
Elders, C. G. Dungan and Joseph Dupree; deacons, M. F. Clark and J. J. 
Dungan. The building was not fully completed until 1849, ^^^ was used as a 
meeting place until 1873. During the first few years of its history the 
church had no regular pastor, but was ministered to from time to time by 
different preachers, among whom were Elders L. J. Jameson, Thoriias 
Lockhart, Asa Holingsworth, John O'Kane and George Campbell. In 1849, 
Elder Giles Holmes became pastor, and labored as such the greater part of the 
time until his death, in i860. The present pastor is Rev. Samuel Small and 
the present membership is three hundred, and there is a flourishing Sunday 
school maintained. Other pastors of recent years are the Revs. Frazier, 
Conner, Manker, Davis, Yocum, and Mullendore. Of these the last named, 
the Rev. William Mullendore, of Franklin, has served the congregation the 
longest time. 


This church is located in Nineveh township and was organized by Elder 
John C Miller, on the 28th day of March, 1870. The priginal members were : 
Valentine Burget. Nancy Burget, Lucinda Burget, James B. Bell, Mary Bell, 
Cynthia A. Cook, John W. Collins, A. B. Dunham, Nancy Dunham, Mary 
Gillaspy, Catherine A. Linton, J. W. Linton, Noah F. Linton, Charles M. 
Linton, Nancy Matthews, Sarah E. McFaddin, Cornelius McFadden, T. J. 
McMurry, Christina McMurry. Lethana McMurry, Mary McMurry, Sophia 
Jacobs, P. C. Jacobs, Sarah J. Slack, Rebecca A. Smyser, Sarah J. Smyser, 
Amelia Smyser, Mary E. Smyser, James Shoemaker, Susan Shoemaker, J. F. 
Wheaton, Lucinda Wheaton, James Work, Margaret Work and W. W. Wilk- 

Digitized by 



house in which this congregation now worships is a neat frame 
I was erected in 1870. 


ristian church at Samaria was organized several years ago, and 
lie met for worship in a store building, which had been fitted up 
mrposes by the Christians, Methodists and Baptists. In the fall 
Hise for the especial use of the Christian congregation was erected, 
time the church has grown and prospered. There is a good mem- 
is time. There is a congregation of the Christian church at the 
[eedham, where a neat and substantial temple of worship was 
ral years ago, and this society has accomplished a good work in 
ity. There is also a flourishing Christian church in Blue River 
few miles from Edinburg, which has a large membership. The 
rship is a commodious frame structure, and the society has been 
or for good in the community. 


ng to some, the Church of Christ at Union village was organized 
nee of Wesley Deer as early as the year 1834. The first record 
le writer's notice reads as follows : **The disciples of Christ at 
n Union township, in Johnson county, Indiana, knowing it to be 
id privilege to live together in a church relation to each other, do 
ves to their Lord and one another, taking the gospel of Christ as 
of faith and practice. Done by agreement this 28th September, 

'homas Jones was among the first preachers, and a log house of 
erected near the present residence of ex-Trustee James Brown. 
For the property was obtained, a subsequent owner of the land re- 
igregation the use of the building, and later a frame building was 
:he farm of Wesley Deer. This building was burned by an 
^s it was supposed, and it was replaced by another structure, 
Iso destroyed by fire during the Civil war. 

he close of the war, the church erected a building at Union Vil- 
ng to Banta's History. But better evidence is at hand that the 
removed to Union Village December i, 1846. The present fine 
dedicated August 19, 1896. 

Digitized by 



Among its pastors have been the following : B. K. Smith, Joseph Davis, 
Aaron Hollingsworth (who preached nine years for a total salary of sixty-five 
dollars), Hiram Deer, Thomas Lockhart, Perry Blankenship, Hamilton Phil- 
lips, John R. Surface, James Heney, William H. Boles, S. J. Tomlinson, B. F. 
Dailey, B. F. Treat, 1899 and 1901, Edgar Daugherty, J. M. Cross, F. D. 
Mjse, 1902-1905, M. V. Grisso, 1905-1907, I. N. Grisso, 1905 and 1912, 
Aubrey Moore 1907-1911, B. L. Allen, 1911, C. E. Dobson, 1913. 

Elder John C. Miller preached to this church continuously from 1857 ^^ 
1900, except for nine years. Thirty-four years of self-sacrifice and devotion 
to his work has made John C. Miller's name revered in the community. 


This church is located in White River township and was organized a 
number of years ago, as early, perhaps, as 1834 or 1835, in a Baptist church 
that stood near the village of Far West. The Baptist society had been in 
existence for some years, but at the time services began to be held by ministers 
of the Christian church, it was extinct. Among the early members of the 
Bluff Creek congregation were Henry Brown, Mar}' Brown, Daniel Brag, 
Lydia Boaz, Jacob Sutton, Abigail Sutton, William Dunn, Christina Dunn, 
John Warren dnd wife, Barbara Tresslar, Valentinfe Tresslar, Mary Tresslar, 
Henry J. Tresslar and others whose names cannot be recalled. Elders Will- 
iam Irwin, James Fawcett, John B. New and J. L. Jones ministered to the 
congregation during the early years of its history, and later it enjoyed the labor 
of some of the leading preachers of the Reformation. For many years the 
old Baptist church building served as a place of worship. Tt was removed to 
the village of Brownstown in 1884, and thoroughly remodeled and greatly 
improved. The church has been a potent factor for good in the community, 
and is still in a flourishing condition. 


The Church of Christ at Bargersville was organized in a school house 
near the village, April 7, 1861, by Elder J. R. Surface, twenty-eight persons 
constituting the original membership. The first officers were the following: 
Elders, Willis Deer, George O. List and John Clore : deacons, Joseph Combs, 
Abraham Qore and Abner Clark: treasurer, Abraham Qore: clerk, John 
Gore. Since its organization the church has been ministered to by different 
pastors from time to time. 

Digitized by 




This society was organized at the Beech Grove church, Hensley township, 
in January, 1876, by Elder A. Ehnore. The original membership was eigh- 
teen. In the fall of the above year, a frame building was erected in Union 
township, and since that time the congregation has been in prosperous condi- 
tion with a steadily increasing membership. The first officers were I. L. Rags- 
dale, Benjamin Thompson and Frank Vandiver, deacons. Benjamin Thomp- 
son was also treasurer and James Davis, secretary. 


The New Hope Christian church was organized December, 1883, i^ what 
is known as school house No. 10, White River township, Elder E. W. Darst 
officiating. About sixty-five members went into the organization, and at the 
first meeting elected the following officers : Elders, C. M. McCool, George 
W. Wyrick and R. J. Johnson ; deacons, W. H. Dresslar, W. F. Williams, J. 
W. Stewart and John Hardin ; treasurer, David Glassburn ; clerk, L. B. Zaring. 
The church has made commendable progress. 


This church in White River township on the Morgantown Road one half 

^Jit south of the county line, was organized on the 17th day of April, 1884, 

^ .i^lders B. M. Blount and E. W. Darst, with a membership considerably 

^:^^:ctss of sixty. The first meetings were held in a building formerly used 

^ -tine Presbyterians. But the same year in which the organization was 

[T^^^^'ted a subscription was taken, resulting in the erection of the present beau- 

Drship, in section 28, which was formally dedicated the fol- 

membership has steadily increased and Mt. Pleasant, at this 

; flourishing Christian churches of the county, numbering at 

dred communicants. A good Sunday school is maintained 

ar and has proved a valuable auxiliary to the church. The 

ors in their order are: Neil McCallum, L. R. Wilson, John 

d Daugherty, W. C. Moore, J. C. Anderson, Baird, 

N. D. Starr. 

Digitized by 




This is an old organization, dating its history from about the year 1829 
or 1830. It was founded by Elder Joseph Ashley, one of the earliest settlers 
on Young s creek, and among its first members the following names are the 
most familiar: Elijah Dawson and family, William Harter and wife, James 
Mitchell and wife, Samuel Dawson and wife, Fleming Harter and wife, 
Lucinda Ware, Martha Williams and members of Elder Ashley's family. 
For some years meetings were held in private residences, but later a school 
house about one mile north of the present building was secured for church 
puri)oses. A frame edifice a short distance north of the present house was 
erected in the yeaf 1851 or 1852, and was used by the congregation until 1875. 
In the latter year the neat frame building in which the church now worships 
was erected at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. The church has a good Sun- 
day school, which has proved an able auxiliary. 


It is in:possible to fix definitely the date of the organization of the Meth- 
odist church in Franklin, as the records of the original class, if any were kept, 
are not accessible. It is known that the settlement in the county of a number 
of Methodist families secured the presence and attention of traveling ministers, 
and doubtless led to the temporary formation of classes or societies, as they 
are called, and in that way unquestionably gave the church hefe a historical 
existence in a very early day, yet it is not at all certain that the denomination 
had any permanent footing in Franklin until about the year 1832. From the 
most relial)le information obtainable, the first class ai)pears to have been organ- 
ized in one of the above years, Init memory fails to recall the names of but two 
of the original members, W. W. Robinson and wife, parents of Rev. D. R. 
Robinson, D. D., of Indianapolis. For some years after the organization the 
class met for worship in the dwellings of the members, and later in neighbor- 
ing school houses, but the methods of the church in those early days were such 
that it is not |X)ssible now to give a reliable account of what it accomplished. 
About the year 1844. a room in the county seminary was secured for church 
purposes, and here the congregation worshiped until 1847-48. The increase 
in membership in the meantime foreshadowed the necessity of a building for 
the especial use of the church: accordingly, in 1848, a lot on the corner of 
JeflFerson street, between Madison street and Home avenue, was procured, and 

Digitized by 



in due time a substantial frame edifice, fifty by sixty feet in size, was erected 
thereon. The building was formally dedicated by Rev. E. R. Ames, after- 
ward Bishop Ames, and served the purpose for which it was intended until 
1869. Owing to the absence of the early records of the church, it will be 
impossible to give a Hst of those who served as pastors in the early days. Until 
1850 the church was the head of Franklin circuit, which for a number of 
years included several appointments: Edinburg, Greenwood, Mt. Auburn, 
Salem, Waverly, Shiloh, Glade, Clarksburg and others. Franklin was made 
a charge the above year, with Rev. J. B. Lathrop as the first stationed pastor. 

During the pastorate of J. M. Crawford, in 1867, the church took the 
necessary steps toward the erection of a more commodious house of worship, 
and secured for the purpose a beautiful lot on the corner of Madison street and 
Home avenue. . W^ork on the new building was pushed forward as raoidly as 
circumstances would permit, but some time elapsed before the edifice was com- 
pleted. It was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, in September, 1869, 
Bishop Simpson officiating. The building is a handsome brick structure, fifty 
by eighty feet in size, surmounted I>y a lofty and graceful spire, and repre- 
sents a capital of twenty-three thousand dollars. It is a very useful religious 
organization in the county, with an active membership of about four hundred. 
A Sunday school was organized shortly after the church was established and, 
with but little interruption, has since continued. At present it is in a flourish- 
ing condition, numbering about two hundred. 

The following pastors have served since the erection of the second build- 
ing in 1869: John Lozier, E. L. Dolph, A. M. Marlatt, E. L. Dolph (second 
pastorate), J. K. Pye, J. S. Reager, R. D. Black, J. W. Duncan, R. Andrus, 
S. A. Bright. C. E. Line, Charles W. Tinsley, E. H. Wood, George Smith, 
Thomas G. Cocks, M. S. Heavenridge, R. R. Bryan, Samuel Reid, A. D. 
Batchelor, and the present pastor, W. E. Edgin. 


But limited satisfaction was derived from tracing the early history of 
Methodism in the city of Edinburg, as the records of the first class have long 
since been lost or misplaced. According to the most reliable information it 
appears that a small class was organized about three miles northwest of Edin- 
burg, on Sugar creek, early in the twenties, and for some years public worship 
was held in private residences, principally in the dwelling of an early settler by 
the name of GifFord. The preaching was done by traveling missionaries, who 

Digitized by 











visited the neighborhood at regular intervals. Unfortunately the names of 
these early pioneers of the Cross have been forgotten. Among the early 
members of the old Sugar Creek class are remembered William Freeman, 
Isaac Marshall, Arthur Robinson, Mr. Gifford and members of their respec- 
tive families, all of whom have long since passed from the "church militant to 
the church triumphant." One of the early preachers, but by no means the 
earliest, was Rev. Mr. Strange, who is remembered as a very devoted and 
earnest Christian man and good pulpit orator. After meeting for two or three 
years on Sugar creek, it was decided to move the organization to Edinburg, 
where services were afterward held in the private residence of William Hunt, 
one of the earliest Methodists of the town. Here the class continued to meet 
until the erection of a house of worship by the Edinburg Benevolent Society, 
after which services were regularly held in said building for several years, the 
congregation increasing in numbers and influence in the meantime. In 1846 a 
frame building for the especial use of the congregation was erected on Walnut 

It was made a station some time in the fifties, and among the early pastors 
were Andrew Hester, David Stiver, John F. McClain, Jesse Brockway, Samuel 
Noble, William Mopin, John K. Pye, Enoch G. Wood, Robert Roberts, Francis 
Potts, Dr. Gelet, Henry E. Woods, Charles W. Lee, James W. Turner and 
Martine L. Wells. The church prospered greatly under the ministry of Rev. 
J. K. Pye, whose labors were blessed by a large increase in the membership. 
Rev. Mr. Roberts also was instrumental in strengthening the church, and dur- 
ing the pastorates of Revs. Lee, Turner and Wood large revivals were held 
resulting in many additions to the congfregation. In 1869, a movement was 
inaugurated for the erection of a building of enlarged proportions. Accord- 
ingly, a beautiful lot on the corner of Main and Thompson streets was pro- 
cured for the purpose. Work upon the new building was pushed forward as 
rapidly as circumstances would permit and the structure, fully completed, was 
formally dedicated in the year 1870. 


This society is the successor of an old class which was organized in the 
vicinity of the village as early as 1824 or 1825. Of the early history of the 
class but little is now know^n, save that meetings were held in private resi- 
dences for a number of years, and that it was disorganized some time prior to 
1850. A re-organization was effected in 1853, with about thirty or forty 
members, and the same year witnessed the erection of a house of worship in 

Digitized by 



the town, the one now used by the congregation. Among the early ministers 
since the re-organization were Revs. Talbott, Rice, Woods, Fish and later, 
Thomas Jones, Sydney Tinker, E. M. Farr, Thomas Brooks, George B. Young, 
J. B. Alley, Mr. Clouds, Thomas McClain, James Jamison and Isaac Turner. 


The history of this flourishing society dates back to a very early period 
in the settlement of that part of Johnson county embraced within the present 
limits of Pleasant township. The first meetings were held in what was known 
as the Glade schoolhouse, near the eastern boundary of the township, as early 
as 1840, by Rev. Mr. Huffaker, who, the year following, organized a small 
class, among the first members of which were the following: John L. Mc- 
Clain and wife, Henry McClain and wife, Jesse McClain and wife, Jacob 
Pcggs and wife, Sophia Cummings, Sarah J. Cummings, Elizabeth Cummings, 
Moses McClain and wife, Isabelle Peggs and Nancy Peggs. Of the original 
members all have passed from the scenes of their earthly labors. The school- 
house was used for a meeting place six or eight years, after which a frame 
temple of worship was erected upon ground donated for the purpose by Elijah 
Cummings. This building answered well the purposes for which it was in- 
tended until the growth of the congregation made a house of larger propor- 
tions necessary, when a more commodious structure was erected on land of 
Benjamin Draper, a short distance east of the original place of worship. 
Among the early pastors of the church are remembered Revs. J. V. R. Miller, 
Havens, Winchester, J. W. McMullen and William Goodwin. The church 
is in a prosperous condition. 


In the summer of 1849 ^^e pastor of Franklin circuit, Rev. Mr. Shafer, 
began stated preaching in the Baptist church of Greenwood, and the year fol- 
lowing, Rev. Elijah D. Long, pastor of the Southport circuit, continued 
preaching and organized a class, among the early members of which were the 
following: M. Pashiel and wife, Mrs. Selch, Mrs. Prewett, George Noble, 
Louisa NoWe, Noah Noble, Rev. Samuel Noble, John Vorhies and wife and 
others whose names are not now remembered. In the fall of 1850 Greenwood 
was made the head of a circuit and Rev. John A. Winchester appointed pas- 
tor. During his pastorate the erection of a church building was undertaken, 

Digitized by 



and prosecuted to successful completion in the early part of the conference 
year following. The building was a substantial frame edifice which stood 
near the central part of town, and cost about twenty-five hundred dollars. In 
the fall of 1 85 1, Rev. Jacob Whitman was appointed to the pastorate. For 
the conference years of 1852-53-54 Rev. J. W. T. McMullen served as pastor, 
with Rev. Strange Sinclair as assistant the second year. Rev. Sinclair came 
next. Succeeding him were Revs. William K. Ream, W. R. Goodwin, L. 
Havens, A. Kennedy, J. M. Crawford, F. S. Turk, T. W. Jones, Samuel 
Langden, D. C. Benjamin, A. H. Reat, Jesse Miller, W. S. Falkenburg. Rev. 
Samuel Noble was appointed in 1882, Rev. N. Falkenburg having been trans- 
ferred to the Texas conference that year. In the fall of 1882 W. H. Wyd- 
man was appointed pastor, serving until the fall of 1885, and wias succeeded 
by Rev. Alonzo Murphy, who, in September, 1887, was followed by Rev. C. 
W. Rinsley. In the spring of 1887, the society began the erection of a new 
house of worship, which was completed and dedicated in December, 1887. 


The organization of which the present class of Whiteland is an out- 
growth was founded a number of years ago at the residence of Martha Le- 
masters, about three-quarters of a mile southwest of the present site of the 
village of Whiteland. Among the early members were a Mr. Crawford, Mrs. 
Lemasters, Isaac Clem and wife, Creed Dawson and wife, and John Smith 
and wife. The first meetings were held at the residence of Mrs. Lemasters, 
and later a schoolhouse about three miles southwest of Whiteland served the 
congregation for a place of worship. Early in the forties a log house, espe- 
cially for church purposes, was built a short distance west of the present site 
of Whiteland, and was known in the early days by the name of Mt. Vernon. 
It was used until the growth of the congregation made a more commodious 
building necessary, when a frame structure was erected, about two miles west, 
on the land of David Smith, and the name changed to Pleasant Grove church. 
Here the congregation met and prospered until 1881, at which time it was 
mutually agreed to erect a building in Whiteland and move the organization 
to the village. Accordingly a beautiful frame edifice, costing two thousand 
dollars, was built that year, and since its completion the society has been mak- 
ing substantial progress in numbers and financial strength. For the first few 
years the church was an appointment of the Franklin circuit and later it was 
attached to the Greenwood circuit. The majority of the preachers mentioned 

Digitized by 



in connection with the Greenwood class ministered to the Whiteland church 
at different times. 


This church is located in White River township and was formerly known 
as Pleasant Hill, being organized some time between 1830 and 1835. Of its 
early history little that is reliable is now known. The old Pleasant Hill so- 
ciety was kept up for several years and accomplished much good in the com- 
munity. A part of the class afterward withdrew and formed what is now the 
Mt. Auburn church, and still later the original society ceased to exist. Sub- 
sequently, a remnant of its former members reorganized and, taking sub- 
scriptions, succeeded in raising a building fund with which the present frame 
house of worship in section 28 was erected. Among the early members of 
the class were William K. Davis and wife, Joseph Smith and wife, Nicholas 
Orme and wife and others. The church is reputed as one of the flourishing 
appointments of Southport circuit. 


The history of Mt. Auburn Methodist Episcopal church dates back to 
1826. The few Methodists of this neighborhood worshiped at that time in 
a frame church called Pleasant Hill. Its size was about twenty-four by thirty 
feet, and it was located on the banks of Pleasant run, one mile west of where 
Fairview church now stands. A few names of members of that early church 
now recalled are: Henry Brinton, Abner Leonard and wife, George Wright, 
Jesse Hughes. Julia Prewett, Franklin Sanders. Margaret Smart, Thomas 
Davis, Nicholas Orme, Nancy Hughes, Scott Hall, Nathan Culver, William 
Hull, Martin Christian, William Norton, Nathaniel St. John, Rebecca Can 
ter and William Sanders. About 1840, a camp-meeting of much interest was 
held near that church under the ministrations of Revs. James Havens, E. R. 
Ames, William Richards, James Scott, Henry Brinton, William Hull and 
John Robe. The Pleasant Run church was discontinued about the year 1852. 

In the year 1835, the first Methodist class at Mt. Auburn was organized 
at the home of William Harrell, now occupied by George Hughes. It was 
partly the outgrowth of the last named church, numbering among its mem- 
bers Jesse Hughes and wife, John Surface and wife, William Harrell and 
wife, John Robe and wife, Abner Leonard and wife, Amos Smith and wife. 

Digitized by 






J 1 • . 



David Melton and wife, V. C. Carter and wife, J. B. Dobyns and wife, Cath- 
erine Sells, W. K. Smith, John Andis and Michael Surface. 

In 1836, the members of this class and others erected "the old mud school 
house," one-half mile west of Mt. Auburn, the building serving as church and 
school house for about thirteen years. Among the pioneer preachers in this 
house and at the near-by camp grounds during the camp meetings of 1843, 
1844 and 1845 were James Havens, E. R. Ames, James Scott, Absalom Parris, 
H. Lathrop, John Powell, J. V. R. Miller, James Mitchell and John Robe. In 
1848 or 1849, 21 church edifice was erected, but left in an unfinished condi- 
tion until 1853, when it was placed in good order. In the early days of 
Methodism large circuits and week-day appointments were the rule. On 
December 21, 1850, the first quarterly meeting for the Greenwood circuit was 
held in this church, J. S. Winchester, preacher in charge, and C. W, Ruter, 
presiding elder. At that time there were nine appointments on the work, and 
the total amount paid to the presiding elder and preacher that year wias 


The following is a list of preachers' names serving at this church since 
1850 to 1900: J. S. Winchester, Jacob Whiteman, J. W. T. McMullen, S. W. 
Sinclair, H. M. Boyer, W. K. Ream, W. R. Goodwin, Landy Havens, A, 
Kennedy, J. M. Crawford, F. S. Turk, T. W. Jones, Samuel Longdon, D. C. 
Benjamin, A, H. Reat, Jesse Miller, W. S. Falkenburg, S. C. Noble (supply), 
W. H. Wydman, A. Murphey, C. W. Tinsley, M. L. Wells, D. A. Robertson, 
C E. Mead, J. T. Jones, T. K. Willis. 


This society is the successor of the old Pleasant Grove church, which 
was organized in the northwest part of Nineveh township as early as the year 
1827. A number of pioneer families of that locality were Methodists and 
the names familiar in the early history of the church were the Thompsons, 
Baileys, Watkins, Days, Carrolls, Laws and Wilsons. Early meetings were 
held in the cabins of the settlers, and later the Watkins schoolhouse served as 
a place of worship until a building for the especial use of the congregation 
could be erected. Late in the thirties, Mr. Mullendore, an early settler in the 
northern part of the township, donated for a church building a lot about one- 
half mile north of the schoolhouse, and in due time a frame edifice was erected 
thereon. Here the society met and flourished for a number of years, and at 
one time became a strong organization with over one hundred members. James 
Hill, S. W. McHaughton and George F. Mullendore were among the early 

Digitized by 



preachers and stated supplies of the church. Owing to deaths, removals and 
other causes, the membership gradually became weaker, until at one time the 
meetings ceased nearly altogether. A reorganization was effected in 1870, 
and the place of meeting changed to Trafalgar, where the same year a frame 
house of worship, costing the sum of one thousand six hundred and fifty 
dollars, was erected. This building stands near the central part of the vil- 
lage and affords a comfortable and commodious meeting place. Among the 
pastors of the church since its reorganization have been the following : Revs. 
Tinker, McClain, Cloud, Young, Farr, Alley and Jamison. 

The Nineveh Methodist Episcopal circuit is composed of six churches: 
Nineveh, with 95 members; Trafalgar, with 93 members; Pis^h, with 94 
members; Friendship, with 66 members; Mt. Olive, with 67 members, and 
Kansas, with 42 members, the last named being located in Bartholomew 
county. Services are held in each church ever}^ alternate Sunday. Since 
1890, the following pastors have served this circuit : Revs. W. C Crawford, 
W. O. Wycoflf, H. L. Sterrett, S. W. Troyer, U. G. Abbott, John F. Harvey, 
W. A. Schell, Charles H. Rose, George Church, J. M. Huddleson, A. E. 
Pierce, J. W. Weekly and J. W. Cordrcy. 

The Pisgah Methodist Episcopal church is one of the oldest church or- 
ganizations in the county, having acquired a church site from Robert Davis 
on August 7, 1833, located at the center of section 19 in Blue Riyer township. 
In 1866, a substantial brick house was erected, in which the congregation still 


This church was organized in the spring of 1878, as a branch of Shiloh 
church, in Morgan county. For some time meetings were held in a school- 
house near the village, but in the fall of the above year a neat frame building 
was erected. Among the early members of the class were the following per- 
sons : James Matthews, George Smith, John W. Taylor, John Selch, Henry 
ICnok, John Shrockmorton and John L. Knox. The following preachers 
have ministered to the church since its organization : Revs. Charles Woods, 
Asbury, Thomas Thomas Jones, J. V. R. Miller, Charles Spray, Samuel C. 
Kennedy and John D. Hartsock. The society belongs to the Waverly cir- 
cuit, Indianapolis district. 

Digitized by 


! "4 : , 







This is an old organization located in Hensley township, and meets for* 
worship in a frame building, not far from the Morgan county line. This 
society is not as strong as formerly, but is still in good condition. 



This is an old organization in White River township and dates its ex- 
istence from about 1834 or 1835. The first meetings were conducted by Rev. 
Jacob Brumwell, at the residence of Anthony Brunnemer, and among those 
who became members in an early day were Jacob and Charlotte Brumwell, 
Berrien and Catherine Reynolds, William Dresslar, Margaret Dresslar, George 
Duke, Mary Duke, John Taylor, Sarah Taylor, Anthony Brunnemer, Magda- 
lene Brunnemer, Henry Dresslar, Malinda Dresslar, William Brunnehier, 
Sarah Brunnemer, Abraham Lowe, Harriett Lowe and a number of other 
early settlers of the community. In 1848, Henry and Elizabeth Dresslar 
deeded to the trustees of the congregation a lot for church purposes, upon 
purpose for which it was intended until 1868, at which time the present frame 
edifice was erected upon the same lot. Among the pastors of Salem in the 
which was erected, a little later, a log house of worship. It answered the 
early days are remembered the following: Revs. Farmer, Beck, Brown, 
Crawford, Huflfaker. McMullen, W. C. Crawford, George Havens, Landy 
Havens, Goodwin Sparks, Shelton, St. Clair. J. M. Crawford. Boyer, Ream, 
Kennedy, Smith, Wilks. Crane, Heavenridge, Woods, Charles Woods, Jones, 
Asbury, Rhoades, Miller, Sray, C. Kennedy, and Hastrock. The church is 
reported in a prosperous condition. 


This church was organized at Clarksburg alx)ut the year 1873 ^^ 1874. 
A substantial frame house of worship was afterward erected at a cost of two 
thousand dollars, and the society, though weak in numbers, the membership 
being about forty, made substantial progress. The church is a point on the 
Acton circuit, and is ministered to at this time by W. D. Woods, and the 
present membership is one hundred twenty-five. Other recent pastors have 
been Revs. H. E. Davis, Martin Brown, George Garrison, Austin Young, 
Troyer and Hall. 

Digitized by 




This church was organized in the year 1868, with the following mem- 
bers : Augustus Hammond, Mary Leonard, Mary Elkins, Jane Blakely and 
Mary Stark, Rev. Whitton Lankford officiating. The following pastors have 
ministered to the church from time to time: Revs. Henry Brown, Henry 
Depew, Hezekiah Harper, Joseph Alexander, Whitton Lankford, John Fer- 
geson, Danial Winslow, Alexander Smith, John Jordan, M. Lewis, Richard 
Titus, Nathaniel Jones, George Pope. The building in which the congrega- 
tion formerly met for worship, a frame structure on West Madison street, 
was erected and dedicated in the year 1868. 


While a few of the survivors of pioneer times still remain, many have 
passed away and with them the landmarks they erected. A few of the pioneer 
incidents have been preserved and cherished, but man is mortal and the mem- 
ory weak and uncertain, hence much of the early history of this community- 
is buried in eternal oblivion. 

Pleasant, yet sad it is, to recall the scenes of the past. Pleasant because 
we see faces of dear ones. Sad, because it is a picture of memory, unreal, 
and will vanish like the mists of the morning. 

Back in the gray and misty dawn of the history of Jackson township 
there came two men and settled in what is now known as the Jollity neigh- 
borhood. These men, William Shipp and Burgess Waggoner, brought their 
families from Kentucky and settled, the former in the field across the road 
from the present residence of William Brockman, the latter on the place now 
owned by George Sanders, Jr. 

In the latter part of the following year, 1823, Richard Shipp and fam- 
ily, Tandy Brockman and family and Samuel D. Sandefur, just east of school- 
house No. 3, on land now owned by Mrs. Marsh. Most of these had come 
from Baptist communities in Kentucky, and after coming into their new homes 
in the wilderness they continued to live as neighbors, meeting from time to 
time in their respective homes for the purpose of worshiping God. In 1828 
or 1829 they formed themselves into what in the early history of the Metho- 
dist Protestant church was known as Union societies, which afterward took 
the name of Associated Methodists. 

In 1830, soon after the convention at Baltimore, Maryland, where all 

Digitized by 







the Associated Methodists, as a denomination, took the name of Methodist 
Protestant, these four families organized as a Methodist Protestant church 
and elected Thomas Shipp as class leader. The church was organized at the 
home of Tandy Brockman, and the eight members who w«it into the orgau- 
ization at that time were Tandy Brockman, Martha Brockman, Richard Shi{q> 
and Mary Shipp, his wife, Thomas Shipp, his son and Mary, his daughter- 
in-law, Samuel D. Sandefur and his wife, Elizabeth. 

In 1832 Peter Clinger came as the first Methodist Protestant preacher. 
Concerning the pastors from 1832 to 1840 we have no record,, but in 1837 
a committee was elected to plan and oversee the building of a house suitable